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Eric Hazelle

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A stepped minimum wage

In the U.S., minimum wage has come up again. If it is raised, employers say they'll have to lay off minimum wage workers to cover the extra expenses. Proponents say it will give minimum wage workers a "living wage".

How about this? Have a stepped minimum wage. (The following numbers are just for discussion sake, not proposals for definitive compensation.) Let's permit kids age 14-15 to get work permits, for something like Macdonald's, or Walmart. They'd be allowed to work, say, 15 hours a week flipping burgers or stocking shelves and getting, say, $6 an hour. It would give them an income, teach them to handle money, contribute to their family, and they'd be able to work as long as their school work didn't suffer.

When they turn 16, increase their hours and pay to 20 and $7 an hour. Again, subject to school performance. At age 18 permit full-time employment as long as they've graduated from high school at $8.50 an hour, unless they're married and have a family, then give them the proposed new minimum wage. (What is it? $10.50 an hour? Anyway.)

From there, put percentages on the number of employees in each category an employer could have. Say a MacDonalds could have 20% 15 year olds, 20% 16, 20% 18 and so on. Tweak the numbers so they'd be paying no more than what they're currently paying.

Benefits; kids off the streets and productively employed, contributing to the family's income and learning working skills. A system that employers of minimum wage workers could support, and not be out extra money.

As I say, this is just for discussion; tweak the numbers, percentages and ages to get a workable plan, then see if congress could go for it.

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  • Mar 17 2013: Being a father of twin 15 year old boys I like your idea if nothing else it gets there lazy ass off the couch and away from the computer. As it is now they want to work but cant there straight A students and also want to get there drivers license but they also need money for that. There stuck because of old laws and bureaucracy times are different now then they were during the child labor laws when people had to have there kids work just so that the family could eat and live. We need change according to the times.
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      Mar 21 2013: AMEN! this! I too think its an AWESOME idea.

      And the original poster did state "tweak the numbers to get a workable plan" So, I am sure that kid who works well would have an opportunity to make more during their lower amount of pay, if he/she is doing better than the coworker who isn't doing that good of a job (how it is in the real world)

      they have taken away all of our kids activities for after school and then don't allow them to work to prepare for their future. Their school lunches are now being catered by fast food companies and they have nothing to keep them active, this is one of the reasons the teenage obesity rate is through the roof.

      My older kids had parks and rec (after school activity, held at the school, they are 25, and 26.) my son in the striped shirt, who is 17, does not and has not had this, it has been cut due to funding. He is an Aspie and his socialization skills would have really been developed had he had that kind of program.

      So I am totally with the Original Poster on this. (I am also in Phoenix)

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