Minimum Wage, Shift Work, and How Consumers Are Changing Legislation for the Better

by Katie Sawyer, 4 minutes read
HOME blog minimum wage shift work and how consumers are changing legislation for the better

In December, the United States Congress passed a $900 billion COVID relief bill to better help businesses, families, and individuals impacted by the global pandemic.

Although the bill will provide much-needed relief to millions of Americans, for many, it’s not enough.

According to a survey of 2,000 American consumers, this is just the beginning. Read on to learn three ways consumers are changing shift work legislation for the better.

Providing hazard pay

While many American workers transitioned to safer work from home conditions, shift workers have not been afforded the same luxury.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, essential workers have been (literally) applauded for their efforts on the front lines, but little to nothing else has come their way in the form of financial appreciation. With the pandemic surging again, American consumers agree that front-line workers should receive some added benefit for the risk they’ve taken in keeping things society afloat during a tumultuous time.

According to the results of the census-balanced study, Americans believe that front-line workers should make an average of $24 more per hour for hazard pay. Close to three-quarters (73%) of people polled believe that both federal and state laws should actually mandate hazard pay for essential workers.

Hazard pay is an idea that is quickly gaining steam among Americans. Seventy-two percent of those polled think hazard pay should be retroactive to the start of the pandemic, with 77% of those describing this as an urgent issue.

Need tips on how to engage your team on hazard pay?

  • Survey your employees on their opinions regarding hazard pay and connect them with a third-party employee assistance law firm to better understand options.

  • Stay on top of local and state regulations and communicate all resulting changes in practices early and transparently.

  • Apply for hazard pay-related funding resources for which you’re eligible and keep your employees posted.

Raising minimum wage

“We need to dispel the myth that shift workers are just teenagers who then go on to have other careers. In fact, shift workers are seeing this work as a legitimate path in their career and they aspire to lead them up the career ladder,” says Kristen Harknett, Co-Founder of the Shift Project. The Shift Project collects survey data on scheduling practices and wellbeing from thousands of retail workers employed at large firms. And they believe in a movement of fair work.

Perhaps the most seismic shift revealed by this survey of 2,000 consumers was that, by and large, Americans are behind wage-related initiatives to support hourly and essential workers.

In fact, 3/4 of respondents agreed that the reliance on essential workers has made the establishment of a $15 federal minimum wage even more important.

Creating a shift work environment in which employees can thrive, and consumers recognize as fair and equitable, is more important than ever. While official company policies may dictate many elements of the work environment, the effectiveness with which they are implemented starts with management.

Though a new minimum wage might not come soon, and other changes might seem daunting, there are few simple steps that can help ensure employees feel as though they are treated fairly and with respect while on the job.

  • Provide schedules in advance. Your cashiers have a life outside of your grocery store. They could be parents, students, or entrepreneurs, trying to balance their other duties with hours at the grocery. A reasonable estimate of the hours they’ll be working will help them coordinate their responsibilities outside of work — and will help you plan which staff members need to work when. It will also help cut down miscalculated hours or confusion about what hours were scheduled to be worked.

  • Revisit your benefits. Take a cue from Ambulunz, who redefined what benefits mean for hourly workers. Shift workers receive per-trip bonus payments, medical insurance, paid time off, and an industry-first Equity Incentive Plan that provides an ownership stake in the company. Aside from having the potential to assist in employee retention, offering a solid benefits package signals that your company values hourly workers just as much as it values salaried ones.

  • Offer learning & career development opportunities. The world of work is always changing, and offering continuing education and career training opportunities for your employees is one of the best ways to help them stay sharp. While you get the benefit of employees who are ahead of the curve, these workers will also get the benefit of taking what they learn through these opportunities wherever their career takes them.

Moving forward, fairly

According to a recent Morning Consult study, 90% of consumers reported that it was important to them that brands treat their employees well. Whether or not companies take care of employees was also among the top five purchase considerations for 49% of consumers.

Learn more about how consumer sentiment is shaping the way hourly businesses are running in 2021. Download How Consumers Are Creating Seismic Shifts in the Shift Work Industry for your free tips.

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