Written by Daniel Murphy Jr.
The minimum wage has always been the pay for entry level jobs to the job market. It serves the urban areas and young people going into the job market for the first time. When I was 14, I worked at Foodtown in Red Bank for $1 an hour; too many years ago. Many summer jobs allow high school and college students the ability to earn income while in school. It is of course not a living wage.
I have always been aware that trying to live on minimum wage would be impossible. So the advent of $15 dollars an hour could help low income workers in various industries. However it must be subject to where and how it is implemented, especially in the food service industry.
Both men and women, bartenders and wait staff, can earn $150 to $200 night ,and more on weekends on tips and salary. If the $15 an hour is a blanket pay for them, 7 hours with no tips would be $105 before taxes. Big drops for working adults who are professional wait staff especially those that work part time to add additional income. Many would leave the restaurant hospitality industry.
Many fast food companies are already automating to limit the number of workers they need to hire. They will also be able to hire out of work new college graduates and professionals for those jobs now held by our urban area work including summer jobs for HS students, pushing them out of the work force.
With no tipping allowed, the restaurants owners are asked to put a 20% service charge on all bills whether the service is good or not. We are asked to take this 20% as income to the business. pay taxes on that sum and use that money left to pay everyone working on the premises $15 an hour. Our margins are so thin today it will put many private sector restaurants out of business.