Minimum wage increasesA minimum wage increase which took place Friday will put more cash in some workers’ pockets, but also leaves some employers looking for ways to cover costs.
By: Ashley Martin, The Dickinson Press
A minimum wage increase which took place Friday will put more cash in some workers’ pockets, but also leaves some employers looking for ways to cover costs.
Parker Pladson, co-owner of Dakota Diner in Dickinson, said it will be difficult to cover costs. He employs four people who get paid minimum wage.
“For right now we’re just going to absorb the cost, but I would say eventually we’re going to look at the effects of it,” he said. “It’s obviously going to make a difference as does any fixed cost,” Pladson said.
The increase took North Dakota’s minimum wage from $6.55 to $7.25 per hour. Employees who receive tips will also receive a pay increase from $4.39 to $4.86 an hour, according to the North Dakota Department of Labor Web site.
Pladson said he may help cover shifts to cut corners.
“We might have to work some shifts for people that normally we might not work,” Pladson said. “For right now, we are planning on keeping the same hours.”
The pay increase comes as a welcome bonus to one of Pladson’s employees, Jason Gregory. He said he was just above the previous minimum wage, and received a raise to $7.25 Friday.
“It will probably help me a lot,” Gregory said. “Every little bit helps nowadays.”
He added the extra wages will likely go toward caring for his children.
Dickinson Parks and Recreation made the adjustments to get all of its minimum wage employees up to $7.25 on July 1, said James Kramer, parks and recreation director.
“Through tax dollars and through increased user fees are the two ways that we’re able to subsidize the minimum wage increase,” Kramer said.
He added many Park District employees were just above the former minimum wage line before the hike and 58 were at minimum wage. Now 127 employees of 150 summer employees are at minimum wage.
All employees are making about the same amount per hour now, Kramer said.
He said raising everyone’s pay to keep some ahead of others was out of the question.
“Financially, there’s no way that the Park District can give the same percentage of wage that minimum wage went up to all the other employees, too,” Kramer said. “All we can do is continue to work on our annual increases on their anniversaries.”
He said it has cost the park district $30,000 a year to keep up with minimum wage.
“With payroll taxes, that’s about $100,000 since they started this phase in,” Kramer said about the yearly raises.
Lois Keator, owner of Christian Child Care in Dickinson began preparing for Friday’s increase in February.
“We have an annual price increase and we do that every year in February and we’ve done that this year, so we’re prepared for this. We’ve planned ahead for this,” she said. “So, we’re going to be just fine.”
She said laying people off or cutting hours was not an option.
“We can’t do that without cutting kids out and we aren’t going to do that,” Keator said. “My payroll is going to go up and consequently that cost gets passed on to the parents, which is not always a good thing.”
She added parents have been very understanding.