Friday, March 14, 2014

Take the Long View...

So my sister sent me this article this morning:  How Obama's Reforms to Overtime Law Will Change People's Lives.  Here's the thing...I work retail...I absolutely agree that working salaried can definitely be a challenge.  I spent the early years of my retail career killing myself for 80 hours a week every week and only getting paid for 40.  I get it.  The problem is this: every time we make changes like this...raising minimum wage...changing the minimum to qualify for salary...nobody is really taking the long view on what that means.  Nobody is thinking about the ramifications of these changes. Everyone sees the benefit but ignores the cost.

Yes.  On the surface, it makes sense.  People work more, they should get paid more.  And I'll be the first to admit that when I've worked 7 days a week because somebody quit, or I've pulled an 11 hour day because we just didn't have the payroll to call someone else in...I did the math.  And it was annoying.  And when I worked 23 days in a row one summer because everyone quit...I felt slighted.  Here's the thing though...salaried managers already DO get additional benefits for working more.  Being a salaried manager, as opposed to an hourly/part-time employee gets you things insurance, paid vacation, paid sick time, and often other options and benefits.  Not to mention, salaried managers have the benefit of knowing that when payroll gets cut...when everyone else gets cut to one shift a week and is only bringing home a quarter of their normal paycheck for that week... they're getting a full check.  It's the price of stability, really.

Now, say they deserve all that anyway.  I don't disagree with all.  In fact, I think many times they've earned all of that and more.  But for a moment, let's consider what's REALLY going to happen if these changes occur.  If this all becomes mandated, nobody is giving retailers (or other employers) extra money to pay their staff.  Staffing for top notch customer service is more important than ever, and pricing is often a dealbreaker in this economy.  No new money is coming in and nothing is getting any cheaper.  Something's gotta give.  So where does the money come from, you ask?  Here's what going to happen...companies are going to raise the salary to the NEW minimum...and cut benefits to make up the difference.  That vacation time you were going to earn?  Probably not.  Getting part of your healthcare plan paid for?  You don't need can just sign up for Obamacare at double the cost now anyway...everyone wins, right?  Not all companies will do this...but the companies that are already taking advantage will continue to take advantage.  And those are the companies that these laws are aimed at.  The companies that care about work-life balance will continue to care about work-life balance, just like they always have.  At the end of the day, everything is exactly the same in a slightly more convoluted way.

This is the reality we live in folks.  Money doesn't just drop out of the sky to fund changes like this.  Everyone is just doing what they need to do to get by...individuals and businesses alike.  And yeah...some companies should do better by their employees...and some employees should do better by the companies too.  It is what it is.  Just try to look at the long view before you jump on the bandwagon. 

And that's the end of my rant...promise :)

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