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Good wages good for business

In response to David Ing’s letter to the editor (Tribune, March 4), the opposite argument could be used – if you don’t increase minimum wage for everyone it affects everything. The argument that increasing minimum wage is bad for business doesn’t hold. You never hear that when company CEOs give themselves outrageous wage increases and perks for their own positions. Doesn’t this also affect the cost of your burger. Not according to them.
Minimum wage earners’ taxes would increase only if they were put in a higher tax bracket, which is highly unlikely.
Economist Kaylie Tiessen estimates that since March 2010, when Ontario’s minimum wage was last increased, the Consumer Price Index has increased by 5.5%. Factoring in Ontario CPI increases means the $10.25 minimum wage would rise to $10.82 per hour – still 20% below the poverty line.
“Decent wages are tied to improved productivity and higher retention rates, which decrease pressure on the bottom line,” Tiessen says. “A higher minimum wage will also act as important economic stimulus as low-wage workers spend their increased income at local businesses.”
Studies show retail companies with well-paid and well-trained employees, such as Costco, have higher sales, higher rates of customer satisfaction and higher profits than companies that view their employees as a costly drain on profit. Higher wages avoid a vicious cycle of higher recruitment and training costs, more frequent mistakes, irregular service and lower sales.
Higher wages increase worker well-being and decrease stress, which leads to lower absenteeism and increased focus on the job. Higher wages also provide incentive for employers to spur innovation. Studies show retailers raise productivity and profitability by investing in their employees.
It is time we considered the human factor in the minimum wage argument, including the benefits of adopting a higher minimum wage or implementing a “living wage” to allow people to provide the basic needs to their family.
A higher minimum wage is good for workers and business.
It’s one way to help ensure every job in Ontario is a good job.
Terry O’Connor

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