Monday, August 17, 2015

Another Plank In My Platform:Minimum Wage Increase and Work Week Decrease

The platform thing comes from a notion I have about running for Congress from NY's 21st. How realistic that notion is, who knows? Likely, not very. Makes a nice meme.

Going to get this down quick and come back to it. For now, here goes. There has been a call for a $15 per hour minimum wage. I don't know if that is reasonable or not. My call is for a min wage of $13.65 per hour. This is a healthy increase over the present minimum. I'm also in favor of reducing the work week to 32 hours. Any work over that would result in time and a half being paid. Therefore, a 40 hour work week would lead to the same pay as 40 hours at $15.

I'm back and thanks to a link from Shaw, I can at least make an attempt at discussing what a fair minimum wage would look like by comparing ours with other developed countries.

In U.S. dollars, we see Germany at $10.79/hour, France at $12.10/hour and Australia at $14.81/hour. But, taking purchasing power parity into account, which factors in the cost of living in these countries, brings France's min wage down to $10.60/hour and Australia's down to $10.20/hour. PPP for Germany was not available, but I would suspect it is in the same range. Looking at this, I have to wonder how reasonable a $15/hour min wage for the US is. I do want to note that the minimums for these two countries is not much higher than the $10.10/hour that was pushed by Aaron Woolf (bless his heart) and many other Dems in the last election.

Following through as I did above with 32 hours at $10.50 straight time and 8 hours at time and a half would lead to an effective pay rate of $11.55/hour. So, just based on what I see of these other nations which are at least more progressive than we are, the $10.50ish number is probably a reasonable goal. I would certainly like to know how or where the goal of $15/hour came from.

On to the work week decrease.

My attempt is to influence employers to make the 32 hour week the standard. Benefits from the article and those I see are:

1) Less stress on employees leading to fewer disability claims and less absenteeism.

2) Hopefully a reduction in unemployment and not an attempt by employers to get more production out of fewer work hours.

3) Flexibility for employer and employee as to duties, hours worked and so on. The extra day off per week would certainly be useful for scheduling appointments and so forth.

4) Energy savings from 20% fewer trips to work and possibly from companies operating on a 4-day week as a standard, as opposed to a 5-day week.


  1. Thanks Shaw, appreciate the link. Still need to do some work on this, but good to see what other developed countries are paying. Mostly below the $15, but well above our current minimum. The work week has not been cut back in quite some time and I believe a reduction in that combines well with an increase in pay for those at the lower end of the wage scale.