Welcome to The Times in Plain English   Click to listen highlighted text! Welcome to The Times in Plain English

We Can live with Fewer McDonald’s. Can We with Fewer Home-Health Aides?

September 23, 2013
Plain English Version

The U.S. economy is alive with low-wage jobs. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. It may be enough for a teenager earning pocket money. It is not enough to support a family.

In the U.S., states can and often do set their own minimum wages, which are usually higher than the federal government’s minimum. Still, people earning the lowest wages will always feel poor. And the world will always see them that way.

What happens when pay is increased? Workers will have more money for living. On the other hand, business owners say they will be forced to employ fewer workers in order to keep labor costs low. Or, they say, they will have to raise prices.

If you are a worker who is now earning more, life is better. If you are a worker who is laid off, life is difficult. If you are a consumer paying more for something, you are not pleased.

The federal minimum wage law does not cover home-health workers. That will change in 2015 when new rules go into effect. For workers and unions representing these employees, this is good news. In some states, such as California and New York, state minimum wages for home-health workers are already higher than the federal wage.

How are some other workers paid? Waiters and waitresses get the minimum wage. However, it is set at $2.13 an hour plus tips. The idea is that tips will bring the total up to $7.25 an hour.

Diners pay for the food, and by tipping, they help the employer pay the server.

It is consumers who benefit from the low wages that keep prices down. That is why low wage, low price stores like Walmart are popular. But if the American economy is built on low wages, pressure to raise pay will grow. It is happening now.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Print Friendly

In Brief

Too Many Antibiotics Can Make Children Heavier

Children who use a lot of antibiotics gain more weight than others. The weight they gain may stay with them into adulthood.

A study of...

Enemy of the Day: Sugar

The U.S. government is saying how much sugar we should consume. They suggest that only 10 percent of the average person’s calories should come...

Reduce Carbs or Fat: Which is the Best Way to Lose Weight?

According to one expert, “It is a lousy question.” Fats, he said, go from bad to good. All diets should have the “good” monounsaturated...

Warnings About Over-the-Counter Drugs

It is not always safe to take over-the-counter drugs (OTCs). The longer you take them, the greater the risk you will incur. They may...


  • dictionary
  • English Dictionary

Double click on any word on the page or type a word:

Powered by DictionaryBox.com
Click to listen highlighted text!