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Employer Tells Workers To Work '7% Harder' After Minimum Wage Increases

Photo: Reddit, Artie Medvedev/Shutterstock
frustrated worker, note from employer

In a post shared to the r/antiwork subreddit, titled “This was on our communication board today at my work. Guess they forgot minimum wage equals minimum effort,” an employee posted the message left by the organization after [the] minimum wage was increased.

Over the years, inflation has outpaced wage growth, and not by a little bit. It’s becoming more and more difficult to eke out a living that pays for your basic needs like food, clothing, and shelter. But for one company, increasing the minimum wage means that employees need to work harder than they ever did before.

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Photo: Reddit

The announcement tells employees to 'work 7% harder.'

The post didn’t share any of the details regarding what the minimum wage was in the state prior to the 7% increase. However, the state with the highest minimum wage is Washington, at $15.74 per hour but the living wage is $19.58 hourly. Even if employees received an increase there, it would not make up the difference between what they are paid and what they need to get essential needs met.

Commenters were especially shocked that the company would make such a bold statement since they are only paying what is legally required of them. One person said, “We've been legally forced to give you more money, so we'd like to ask that you illegally make sure that you do more work to equal the raise, so we don't practically have to pay you any more than we are doing now, alright?”

As an employer, sending the message that you are only willing to pay what you are compelled to be law is already demoralizing. A truly empathetic, purposeful, and compassionate company that has its employees’ best interests at heart and creates a compensation philosophy centered around getting the necessary work done and considering its employees’ needs.

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Many people are now of the mindset that minimum wage equals minimum effort from workers.

They believe that if an employee is paid the lowest amount they can be for a job, they should be expected to do exactly what is required of them to meet expectations and nothing more.

This particular business seems to be fully aware that employees are not going above and beyond basic duties and seemingly believes that it is directly correlated to the pay they are receiving. They may be right, considering that when pay is increased for low-paid workers who were underperforming, their productivity increases by as much as 22%.

But for those who already made a livable wage and for top performers, there was no notable difference in the speed or quality of their work.

It’s important to keep in mind that employees who don’t make enough money to cover expenses can experience food insecurity, housing instability, a lack of suitable childcare, and detrimental impacts on their mental and emotional well-being. But, by making a blanket statement, as this employer did, they leave a bad taste in the mouths of employees that have already committed themselves to the work despite the low wages.

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NyRee Ausler is a writer and author from Seattle. She covers issues navigating the workplace using the experience garnered over two decades of working in Human Resources & Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.