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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 16 2013: i imagine the poor guy right before his 16th birthday, desperately trying to find some job to help out his family, but not finding, and his current employer is not going to pay 7 bucks, and employing a 15 years old instead. he will hate your idea.
    • Mar 17 2013: but your also forgetting that you get what you pay for as age increases so does the maturity level. but also the cost of training new employees. also if a company want to hire just kids they will get what they pay for and probably wont be in business long
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        Mar 17 2013: on an average. but this particular kid did not grow in his capabilities according to your prescribed rate. he could find a job for 6, but not for 7. bad luck for him. expect him to show up at your front very angry.

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