Can big businesses afford to pay above the minimum wage? Watch

FightToWin
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A while ago I made a thread expressing my opinion on how I thought humanity was f'ed up because some employers are more than happy to force young people without much experience potentially into homelessness (or at least into difficulty into getting a better/another job) for one tiny mistake, completely ignoring any good this employee did, while the company itself made hundreds of millions of pounds profit. Anyone who wants to read this thread can do so here https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=4987404

I'm doing a bit better now, so I'm not going to be quite so dark this time.

But it's still made me think a lot about these types of people and companies and what they do with this much profit and if they even think about the employees who are the only reason the company can make this profit. Yet despite this the employees might barely be able to feed their family with their wages, or keep a roof over their heads.

In that example, if a company wants to "look after it's employees" which so many companies I've dealt with claim to, are they doing that? Because in my opinion, reading in a contract "Yeah, we're going to pay you the bare minimum amount the law requires us to, and tbh if it was lower that's how much we'd pay you, so you can be thankful. Oh, and we're slowly going to increase the age you need to work until so you can work for us longer. No, you can't have that holiday, you need to come to work that day. Forget having an amazing time, you need to be making us more money." That's all my brain's been wired to read when I read through my last contract.They could have easily summed up the entire contract in "We couldn't care less about you, $lave. You want the job so you can afford to eat or nah?"

Anyway, my point is, we're all in this together, and people over profits, right? As the people who are the sole reason said company makes billions, shouldn't they be a bit nicer towards us? Help us be able to travel, pursue our passions, live our life instead of existing for someone else's? What would you even do with, say, £500 million? Spend all of it? I don't think so. So if they could afford to, why don't they?

It could be I haven't researched this enough and that there could be plenty of companies that actually treat their employees in this way, but I'm yet to discover any. So feel free to correct me. I'm just feeling so annoyed about the whole thing, so would like some discussion on this.

Thanks.
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DetectivePeralta
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A lot of them do. Here are some employers that pay the 'real living wage':
https://www.livingwage.org.uk/accred...wage-employers
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Dan Deplorable
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Why should corporations care about the personal lives of their employees? Their goal is to deliver profit to their shareholders, and if that means that their low-level employees have to live in squalor then so be it.

I say we abolish the minimum wage and let businesses set their own rates. Does a shelf stacker or call centre worker really deserve as much as £7.50 an hour. I don't think so.
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FightToWin
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(Original post by Trapz99)
A lot of them do. Here are some employers that pay the 'real living wage':
https://www.livingwage.org.uk/accred...wage-employers
Does the Real Living Wage include allowing the employee to fulfil their passions outside of work?

Paying just enough so someone can afford to stay alive and work is still not good enough. What about what the employee wants to do with their life? What are they going to do when they retire, sit there and wait to die?

(Original post by Dan Deplorable)
Why should corporations care about the personal lives of their employees? Their goal is to deliver profit to their shareholders, and if that means that their low-level employees have to live in squalor then so be it.

I say we abolish the minimum wage and let businesses set their own rates. Does a shelf stacker or call centre worker really deserve as much as £7.50 an hour. I don't think so.
Well, at least you recognise how we're ****ed.

If the shelf stacker/call centre worker contributes towards the hundreds of millions of pounds profit that the owner of the company sweeps up in his/her fat, sweaty hands, then they deserve more than £7.50 an hour. Depending on the area they live in it'd be impossible to live their life, let alone look after dependables, with that crappy wage.
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Acsel
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Both my entry level job in retail and my current job with my University paid above minimum wage. In fact both jobs paid above the 25 and over minimum wage, despite me being 22 now and in the 18-20 bracket back when I was in retail. From what I've heard, other supermarket retail jobs paid the same or similar. So I don't think you've researched this enough personally

The main thing I've seen though is that the really poor paying jobs, the ones basically at minimum wage do not need a competitive salary. A companies priorities are profits, nothing else matters unless you focus on profit first. So it makes sense to pay the legal minimum where possible. However wages are also reflective of how useful the person is, in many cases compared to other people. So in a job like retail, while I'm thankful to have been earning over the minimum wage, I wouldn't have expected it. The job did not require special skills, was not competitive (you can get anyone to work retail easily) and there was never a shortage of staff. In that respect, it was simply a way to ensure staff were treated well.

Now this applies to many of the basic, unskilled jobs. But the vast majority of jobs do not pay minimum wage. Look at any skilled job and you'll find people earning far above the minimum wage. Even something like 20K per year, which isn't very much is still above minimum wage.

So the idea that minimum wage is this big issue is really a myth. The vast majority of companies are not paying minimum wage and those that do usually do it because that's what the workers are actually worth.

Of course you can make an argument that the minimum wage isn't enough to live. To which I say 2 things. One is that this is not the companies fault. Blame governments for having a low minimum wage, blame inflation for making things more expensive. Sure, a company can pay you more but equally you should also be worth that value to them. And second is stop relying on a basic job that doesn't pay. If you're relying on an income from a low paying, minimum wage job you need to ask why that is. Why do you not have a better job for example? Ultimately money is in responsive to a service you are providing someone. If you are not providing much service (i.e. a basic low paying job) and are therefore not a terribly desirable employee, it's to be expected that you get paid less. Rather than having an issue with the wage, do something about yourself to make yourself worth more

Not gonna write much more on this but I believe a minimum wage is a good thing, because it forces busineses to pay a basic level of pay. Upping it to force big companies to treat their staff better sounds great. Right up until you realise some smaller companies can't afford to pay it. Lets say you have a niche local shop. The owner has 2 employees. You up minimum wage by £1. Those 2 employees working full time now get an extra £40 per week each. Or roughly £320 per month. Doesn't sound like much but maybe that small business was only making £500 per month profit. Maybe it wasn't making that and the owner has to pay the extra out of his own pocket. Or layoff one of the employees. Or outright stop doing business. Higher minimum wages sound great if you can afford to pay them but as soon as you look at smaller businesses and realise they're already struggling it hurts them even more
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DetectivePeralta
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(Original post by FightToWin)
Does the Real Living Wage include allowing the employee to fulfil their passions outside of work?

Paying just enough so someone can afford to stay alive and work is still not good enough. What about what the employee wants to do with their life? What are they going to do when they retire, sit there and wait to die?
The real living wage pays enough for people to maintain a good quality of life. It's enough for someone to get by and also for a few luxuries like buying nice clothes and eating out every now and then. Is that good enough?
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FightToWin
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(Original post by Trapz99)
The real living wage pays enough for people to maintain a good quality of life. It's enough for someone to get by and also for a few luxuries like buying nice clothes and eating out every now and then. Is that good enough?
It's a start. Depends on what the actual wage is and the area the person lives in. Whoever's in charge of payroll will know both and will make the decision from there. It should include enough to buy a car, decent clothes, a gym membership, occasional trips out/holidays and maybe a bit extra so the employee can work on their goals. That's a good quality of life, not just being able to exist so you can carry on going to work and the company can take everything else.

Maybe I'm just salty because I've spent most of my career making sure planes don't crash into a forest and explode killing everything on board and I've never been able to afford a car, let alone everything else. But my dad has worked 30 years as a paramedic, getting attacked by drunks and saving people's lives every day. Does he have half a good a life as the CEO of some multi-million pound profit company? Absolutely not. But I know who I respect more.
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virgil1
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Well I remember Tommy Sheridan before he went completely nuts wanted a minimum and maximum wage (7/70 pounds/hr I think).

The problem with minimum wages is it devalues a lot of people’s wages that are just above. My partners job is highly skilled (uni degree and home office certifications required) and yet she only gets a couple of quid per hour more than minimum wage. Sounds like a fair amount more but not when you consider she hasn’t had a pay rise in years - every increase in minimum wage reduces the value of all the hard work she’s put in. Mind I can’t complain in IT - my salary has increased every year since I started my last job by way over inflation.

All being said - what else can we do. If you got rid of the minimum wage I genuinely believe the higher ups would cut wages to the bone - just look at Walmart in America and B&Q in the uk with the latest increases.
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Kernel_Coder
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Anyone can look up a companies entire accounts (for free within 10-15 ish years) using companies house. This shows gross/net profit, and in some cases will show how much the CEO/directors/shareholders earn.

You can use Glassdoor to show how much others at the same company as you are paid. In addition, Glassdoor can be used to find out how much competitors are also paying.

It's never been easier to find out if an employer is underpaying you. I have no idea why more people don't do this...
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FightToWin
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(Original post by Acsel)
Both my entry level job in retail and my current job with my University paid above minimum wage. In fact both jobs paid above the 25 and over minimum wage, despite me being 22 now and in the 18-20 bracket back when I was in retail. From what I've heard, other supermarket retail jobs paid the same or similar. So I don't think you've researched this enough personally

The main thing I've seen though is that the really poor paying jobs, the ones basically at minimum wage do not need a competitive salary. A companies priorities are profits, nothing else matters unless you focus on profit first. So it makes sense to pay the legal minimum where possible. However wages are also reflective of how useful the person is, in many cases compared to other people. So in a job like retail, while I'm thankful to have been earning over the minimum wage, I wouldn't have expected it. The job did not require special skills, was not competitive (you can get anyone to work retail easily) and there was never a shortage of staff. In that respect, it was simply a way to ensure staff were treated well.

Now this applies to many of the basic, unskilled jobs. But the vast majority of jobs do not pay minimum wage. Look at any skilled job and you'll find people earning far above the minimum wage. Even something like 20K per year, which isn't very much is still above minimum wage.

So the idea that minimum wage is this big issue is really a myth. The vast majority of companies are not paying minimum wage and those that do usually do it because that's what the workers are actually worth.

Of course you can make an argument that the minimum wage isn't enough to live. To which I say 2 things. One is that this is not the companies fault. Blame governments for having a low minimum wage, blame inflation for making things more expensive. Sure, a company can pay you more but equally you should also be worth that value to them. And second is stop relying on a basic job that doesn't pay. If you're relying on an income from a low paying, minimum wage job you need to ask why that is. Why do you not have a better job for example? Ultimately money is in responsive to a service you are providing someone. If you are not providing much service (i.e. a basic low paying job) and are therefore not a terribly desirable employee, it's to be expected that you get paid less. Rather than having an issue with the wage, do something about yourself to make yourself worth more

Not gonna write much more on this but I believe a minimum wage is a good thing, because it forces busineses to pay a basic level of pay. Upping it to force big companies to treat their staff better sounds great. Right up until you realise some smaller companies can't afford to pay it. Lets say you have a niche local shop. The owner has 2 employees. You up minimum wage by £1. Those 2 employees working full time now get an extra £40 per week each. Or roughly £320 per month. Doesn't sound like much but maybe that small business was only making £500 per month profit. Maybe it wasn't making that and the owner has to pay the extra out of his own pocket. Or layoff one of the employees. Or outright stop doing business. Higher minimum wages sound great if you can afford to pay them but as soon as you look at smaller businesses and realise they're already struggling it hurts them even more
Glad to hear you had a good start to your career. I probably haven't researched it enough, but I know I started my career working in a supermarket as well, and I definitely wasn't paid above the bracket. It was something like £6.85 an hour, for 24 hours a week. Other people worked for that salary, and had a family to feed with that.

Some interesting points there, and I'll try to cover as many as possible.

Firstly, I don't mull over this because I'm poor or in a low paying job or believe I'm worthless. In fact it's the complete opposite. I've had a good career. I've worked good, enjoyable jobs and been paid a decent amount too. But I worked in an airport, and worked all over the airport, so I saw everyone who works there. People sitting in a little WH Smith stand for hours next to gates which weren't even open, so no customers to serve. Contracted workers who's only job was to take bags off a plane, not even getting to load the aircraft, just take bags out all day, whatever reason. I'm thinking about these guys more than myself, wondering how they do it and how they feed their families by doing that.

I completely agree about the subject of small businesses and how they couldn't do it. That's why I put 'big' businesses in the title. Profit is calculated after the cost of payroll, right? So if a company has paid all it's employees and still had £500 million left over, they can definitely afford to pay more.

The company is just as responsible for how their employees live as the government. Sure, the government sets the minimums, but the company has every right to go higher than that. And if I read in a company handbook that they care about their employees then read that they're paying minimum wage, I'd feel personally insulted, because that suggests if the minimum wage was lower then the company would pay that amount. In other words, they couldn't give a **** about the employee's quality of life.

If an employee has to be worth something to the company, then is the CEO worth their hundreds of thousands of pounds salary? I told the other guy who commented, my dad's a paramedic, and the best example I can think of for this situation. He saved multiple lives last shift, in this weather. His boss sat in a nice warm room and told my dad to go and do it. Boss gets paid loads more. Does he deserve to paid more?

And while I'd agree that employees should get however much they're worth, we both know that won't work. "She earns more than me? Why? I do this, I do that." Fight breaks out. Employee gets discriminated for being paid more. So the solution to that in regards to pay, is either the pay remains the same, which is what I'm arguing against, or everyone gets paid more, which works as a solution, and, as I've pointed out more, surely someone who contributes to the company's 9-figure profit, shouldn't be living on the breadline at the hands of the company.
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bones-mccoy
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I wouldn't have a problem with the minimum wage if so many companies didn't essentially force their workers to go above and beyond, doing 3 other people's work when they're understaffed, being expected to drop everything and come into work on their days off, working people to the bone and exhausting them mentally and physically just for the bare minimum they legally have to pay. I've left 2 jobs now that have paid minimum wage and treated the workers like ****, not even giving us the breaks that we're entitled to and overworking us pretty much every shift. I agree that retail/hospitality etc are unskilled jobs so the pay should always be less than qualified jobs but that doesn't mean those workers should be taken advantage of.
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FightToWin
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(Original post by virgil1)
Well I remember Tommy Sheridan before he went completely nuts wanted a minimum and maximum wage (7/70 pounds/hr I think).

The problem with minimum wages is it devalues a lot of people’s wages that are just above. My partners job is highly skilled (uni degree and home office certifications required) and yet she only gets a couple of quid per hour more than minimum wage. Sounds like a fair amount more but not when you consider she hasn’t had a pay rise in years - every increase in minimum wage reduces the value of all the hard work she’s put in. Mind I can’t complain in IT - my salary has increased every year since I started my last job by way over inflation.

All being said - what else can we do. If you got rid of the minimum wage I genuinely believe the higher ups would cut wages to the bone - just look at Walmart in America and B&Q in the uk with the latest increases.
Very good point about your partner. I'd consider it differently from how many pounds above the minimum wage she earns tho - the amount of hours she works will affect that. I'd look at annual salaries and how well the employee can live with that annual salary, as that depends on location.

People in charge of wages know how well the employee can live with what they're being paid. So instead of saying "They're going to get paid £20,000 a year" they're pretty much saying "They'll get by, but they'll struggle for a pension, for a mortgage, and if they've got kids it probably won't be enough".

And in my opinion, I don't care if you work as a toilet cleaner or any jobs worse than a toilet cleaner, if you're devoting so much of your time to the company's toilets for their image to the public, you're worth far more than "They're not going to be able to feed their family.. oh well"
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ch0c0h01ic
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(Original post by FightToWin)
A while ago I made a thread expressing my opinion on how I thought humanity was f'ed up because some employers are more than happy to force young people without much experience potentially into homelessness (or at least into difficulty into getting a better/another job) for one tiny mistake, completely ignoring any good this employee did, while the company itself made hundreds of millions of pounds profit. Anyone who wants to read this thread can do so here https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=4987404

I'm doing a bit better now, so I'm not going to be quite so dark this time.

But it's still made me think a lot about these types of people and companies and what they do with this much profit and if they even think about the employees who are the only reason the company can make this profit. Yet despite this the employees might barely be able to feed their family with their wages, or keep a roof over their heads.

In that example, if a company wants to "look after it's employees" which so many companies I've dealt with claim to, are they doing that? Because in my opinion, reading in a contract "Yeah, we're going to pay you the bare minimum amount the law requires us to, and tbh if it was lower that's how much we'd pay you, so you can be thankful. Oh, and we're slowly going to increase the age you need to work until so you can work for us longer. No, you can't have that holiday, you need to come to work that day. Forget having an amazing time, you need to be making us more money." That's all my brain's been wired to read when I read through my last contract.They could have easily summed up the entire contract in "We couldn't care less about you, $lave. You want the job so you can afford to eat or nah?"

Anyway, my point is, we're all in this together, and people over profits, right? As the people who are the sole reason said company makes billions, shouldn't they be a bit nicer towards us? Help us be able to travel, pursue our passions, live our life instead of existing for someone else's? What would you even do with, say, £500 million? Spend all of it? I don't think so. So if they could afford to, why don't they?

It could be I haven't researched this enough and that there could be plenty of companies that actually treat their employees in this way, but I'm yet to discover any. So feel free to correct me. I'm just feeling so annoyed about the whole thing, so would like some discussion on this.

Thanks.
A couple of questions to ask yourself...

Why should a company pay you more?

What value do you bring to the company that they cannot get elsewhere?

What have you been doing beyond your normal duties or productivity levels to justify a pay rise?

What makes you 'special'?

If you haven't got good answers for the above questions then why should any discerning employer pay you more simply to fund your lifestyle choices and aspirations?

If your lifestyle does not meet your aspirations then you can either get a better paid job, which shouldn't be too difficult if you are a good prospect and simply undervalued by your existing employer, or make yourself a better employee to justify your employer paying you more (ie; increased productivity, assuming more responsibilities, further training).

Self entitlement is not an attractive quality to employers and it rarely correlates with value and productivity. Talking from personal experience, the employees that demand the most, are rarely the most productive team members, are are often the least appreciative of what their managers or employers do for them, and have unrealistic expectations of what their job should afford them.
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FightToWin
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(Original post by ch0c0h01ic)
A couple of questions to ask yourself...

Why should a company pay you more?

What value do you bring to the company that they cannot get elsewhere?

What have you been doing beyond your normal duties or productivity levels to justify a pay rise?

What makes you 'special'?

If you haven't got good answers for the above questions then why should any discerning employer pay you more simply to fund your lifestyle choices and aspirations?

If your lifestyle does not meet your aspirations then you can either get a better paid job, which shouldn't be too difficult if you are a good prospect and simply undervalued by your existing employer, or make yourself a better employee to justify your employer paying you more (ie; increased productivity, assuming more responsibilities, further training).

Self entitlement is not an attractive quality to employers and it rarely correlates with value and productivity. Talking from personal experience, the employees that demand the most, are rarely the most productive team members, are are often the least appreciative of what their managers or employers do for them, and have unrealistic expectations of what their job should afford them.
Wow, lots of questions. I'll answer them as best as I can.

1. Becasuse, from my personal example, going back to one of my jobs as a flight dispatcher, if I hadn't of done that job properly a plane would have crashed costing hundreds of millions of pounds to the airline and losing most if not all of their future customers. That's for however many thousands of planes I worked on. With no accidents. And if I do that in exactly 1 hour, I get £7.20. Enough for 2 big packs of tuna (If they've been price cut)

2. ^^^^ Ditto, apart from the "they cannot get elsewhere" part. Everyone doing the same job as me did just as good, causing no plane crashes.

3. Well, considering they refused my request for holiday so I could go and see my family for the first time in 6 months, supposedly because they would be short staffed, I had to give up and go and make them more $$$ instead. Because $$$ over family. And technically by doing that I broke my own contract because my contract states I have to have holiday in both the summer/autumn period AND the winter/spring period, and I got holiday for neither. That's going more above and beyond for them than they went for my contract.

4. I'm not asking for a pay rise just for myself..? I'm not even asking for a pay rise. I'm asking a general question.

5. Ok.. did you read the whole conversation? I stated before I'm not asking this because I'm in a low paying job which I hate, I'm the opposite. I'm asking because I've seen people at work who's job is to sit next to an empty gate with nothing to do and as a reward they get to not die of starvation. Companies even state in their contract that you're not allowed to get another job while you're working full-time with them. So if I'm going to devote 8-12 hours of my day, 5 days a week to them, and I don't get the chance to live my own life, due to not enough disposable income or time off, what's the difference between current working conditions and, i don't know.. human slavery?
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Acsel
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(Original post by FightToWin)
Glad to hear you had a good start to your career. I probably haven't researched it enough, but I know I started my career working in a supermarket as well, and I definitely wasn't paid above the bracket. It was something like £6.85 an hour, for 24 hours a week. Other people worked for that salary, and had a family to feed with that.
I wouldn't say it's a good start to my career, more that they're a few jobs to earn money. My career hasn't actually begun yet imo.

It's interesting that you should say that, roughly how long ago was that? When I started working I was under 18 so got the sub £5 wage iirc. It then simply rose to the default minimum wage. So you were either paid the under 18 wage or the minimum wage, none of this 18-20, 21-25 bracketing stuff.

Also of note here, 90% of the people I worked with were either young students looking for some money while at college, back from uni, etc. or they were older people who were looking for easy jobs later in their life. Neither group was supporting a family. There were a few older young people who for lack of a better description, seemed like they wouldn't amount to anything. One guy I worked with is coming up on mid twenties, went to college and got A Levels and has been working retail ever since. Hasn't progressed, hasn't made any attempt to better himself.

It's difficult to say without knowing specific scenarios, but I would argue that people trying to support a family on basic wage do not have a good grip in life. If they're limited to low paying jobs then I'd argue they shouldn't be starting a family until they can reliably support a family. But that's somewhat unfair since everyone has circumstances. But I'd still question why you had a family and why you were stuck in a low paying job. Don't have kids you can't afford and don't leave yourself with no decent job options. It's not fair to generalise to everyone but it's also not completely untrue.


(Original post by FightToWin)
Firstly, I don't mull over this because I'm poor or in a low paying job or believe I'm worthless. In fact it's the complete opposite. I've had a good career. I've worked good, enjoyable jobs and been paid a decent amount too. But I worked in an airport, and worked all over the airport, so I saw everyone who works there. People sitting in a little WH Smith stand for hours next to gates which weren't even open, so no customers to serve. Contracted workers who's only job was to take bags off a plane, not even getting to load the aircraft, just take bags out all day, whatever reason. I'm thinking about these guys more than myself, wondering how they do it and how they feed their families by doing that.
I apologise if my comment seemed like I implied you specifically. I intended to imply you as a general response to everyone, not yourself specifically. My bad for poor writing there.

One could argue that actually, those aren't awful jobs. It depends on a perspective. Standing in WH Smiths near a closed gate means nothing to do. I'd go crazy and think I'm wasting my time for such a small amount of money. Some people would relish the job. Same for simple stuff like loading and unloading bags. Some people just want an easy life.

Whether it supports a family is debatable, but then I don't know their exact cimrcumstances. I don't know what they get paid, why they're doing the job, how many people that wage has to feed and so on. One could argue that their life choices put them in that position. Or maybe they chose it and they're happy with it


(Original post by FightToWin)
I completely agree about the subject of small businesses and how they couldn't do it. That's why I put 'big' businesses in the title. Profit is calculated after the cost of payroll, right? So if a company has paid all it's employees and still had £500 million left over, they can definitely afford to pay more.
That's fair, I wrote the part about small businesses because it popped into my head but it's not strictly relevant. But sure, big businesses could afford to pay employees more. If you've made £500 million in profit and have 500 employees you could give them all an extra million. But then you'd have no profit and of course that's a stupid example.

But let's take Tesco. I don't know what Tesco pay off hand and it might already be well above minimum wage. But let's pretend they pay exactly minimum wage. Tesco employs 500,000 people globally. Let's also pretend they're all minimum wage workers in the shops. I started looking for profit figures for Tesco here and was immediately greeted with multi billion pound losses. So not a great example already. But let's just say they make £2.26 billion in profit, which was what was reported in 2014. To factor in that some of these 500,000 workers are part time and some full time I'm just gonna say they do 30 hours per week and get paid 52 weeks per year (which is probably true due to paid holidays).

So we want to give our employees a raise of £2 per hour, not an unreasonable bump over the minimum wage. That profit is eaten into by:

£2 x 500,000 employees x 30 hours per week x 52 weeks per year

Which comes to a grand total of £1.56 billion. Over half of their overall profits just disappear. And this is for a big business with billions in profits that also managed to report much greater losses (6 billion down the year after).

So the answer here would seem that it's just damn expensive. All of a sudden, a big company with 500,000 left over doesn't actually seem like it can easily afford to give the employees a boost.

(Original post by FightToWin)
The company is just as responsible for how their employees live as the government. Sure, the government sets the minimums, but the company has every right to go higher than that. And if I read in a company handbook that they care about their employees then read that they're paying minimum wage, I'd feel personally insulted, because that suggests if the minimum wage was lower then the company would pay that amount. In other words, they couldn't give a **** about the employee's quality of life.
I agree that it does send mixed messages. But I can't honestly say I've actually seen a company that pays minimum wage and has a handbook in the first place. It's one of those things that I'd want to see some numbers to get a real example of.

(Original post by FightToWin)
If an employee has to be worth something to the company, then is the CEO worth their hundreds of thousands of pounds salary? I told the other guy who commented, my dad's a paramedic, and the best example I can think of for this situation. He saved multiple lives last shift, in this weather. His boss sat in a nice warm room and told my dad to go and do it. Boss gets paid loads more. Does he deserve to paid more?
Arguably and perhaps controversially, yes. Deserve is not quite the word I'd use though. The money we have does not end up in the hands of tose who deserve it. Footballers earn more in a week than your dad does in a year. Your dad is of much greater use to society (and I am truly thankful he does what he does). But there is also more demand for footballers which is why they can leverage a large salary.

The public sector is in a really dumb place right now, what with the lack of pay rises and so on. If I could, I would 100% increase the public sector pay to be more representative of what those people do for us. Your dad saves lives and that is worth a lot more than he gets paid for. But you can then also argue that without his boss, those lives don't get saved. Maybe your dad saves 10 lives. And maybe he's a team of 4 that save 10 lives each, overseen by a boss that does all the other necessary work. Without the boss, the team doesn't function. I don't think he should get paid 4 times as much but equally the boss had a hand in saving those 40 lives.

People always seem to say the boss shouldn't get paid loads. But those people often don't have the slightest idea what the boss actually does. In the case of a large company, the boss is making decisions that affect thousands of employees, the future of the company, managing all these resources and so on. In that respect, the work they do is worth drastically more than 1 worker on minimum wage who is simply just a cog in the machine. Yeah, without those cogs the bosses company doens't make money. But without the boss, there is no company.

(Original post by FightToWin)
And while I'd agree that employees should get however much they're worth, we both know that won't work. "She earns more than me? Why? I do this, I do that." Fight breaks out. Employee gets discriminated for being paid more. So the solution to that in regards to pay, is either the pay remains the same, which is what I'm arguing against, or everyone gets paid more, which works as a solution, and, as I've pointed out more, surely someone who contributes to the company's 9-figure profit, shouldn't be living on the breadline at the hands of the company.
That works both ways though. Employee A does little to no work and still manages to get paid as much as Employee B who does twice as much work as average Employee C. Yet they all get paid the same. Paying an employee more for doing more or better work is fair, not discriminatory. It's rewarding the effort equally. The issue is in fact with management perception of effort. They don't know that Dave is working super hard emptying the bins but see that Steve is quickly stacking shelves so give him a raise. The issue here is fairly determining who should be paid more. Everyone gets paid more works fine for the people being underpaid and does not seem at all fair for the lazy people. So I don't see that your suggestion works here tbh.

And as far as contribution goes, sure the employees contribute to the 9 figure profit. But take away the company and are they capable of the same thing? Can that employee be replaced by any other person and get the same result? What a lot of people don't realise is that those employees are in fact getting paid proportionally. If a company makes £2 billion profit during a year, that's roughly £38 million each day. If you've got 500,000 employees like Tesco, that works out to £77 per person, per day. 8 hours of work is fairly close to that at minimum wage. So proportionally speaking, these employees are in fact being paid an appropriate amount for the work they put in. Or to put it another way, each of those 500,000 employees puts in effort that makes up 0.0002% of the overall profit. So if each of those 500,000 employees is worth 0.0002% of the total £2 billion profit then each of this employees is individually worth £4000 (2 billion divided by 500,000). So at this point all of those cogs that make up the total profit are actually worth far less than the money they get paid for it

Of course all of this should be taken with a pinch of salt. It's a very specific example and won't represent every business. I'd need a business with known minimum wage payments and realsitic figures to get something more relevant. But it goes to show that a big company like Tesco which you would think has profit to spare at one point would have severely struggled to pay higher than minimum wage

Apologies for the drastically long post
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SWCoffee
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When you seek employment with a company, you usually surrender the right to protest your dismissal. It's kinda like not reading the Terms of Service and then being surprised that the terms include your conditional eviction.

If a company were to reject me, I would take my labor elsewhere. Their loss!
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jkls92
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This us and them philosophy is mistaken and betrays ignorance of how corporations work. Everyone in a big business could be classed as an "employee", and that definitely includes who wrote your contract and the HR people. The owners are often thousands of shareholders who do not exercise direct control over the business and view their ownership as a line and number on a computer screen and only care about whether that number increases or not. The board, as well, doesn't deal with operative matters. Managers are hired for that. They do decide pay (to a certain degree) but they have a duty to manage the company in a way that maximizes profits for shareholders, meaning they have to keep pays low, not because they hate you, nor because they want to make more money.

Employee compensation is generally the highest expense for a company.

I've recently read a contract for an investment banking role and I can assure you that, contractually, we are slaves. However, it didn't make me resentful towards HR, the lawyers who wrote my contract or the management, because I know they were only doing their job and it's their precise duty to do so. As for the owners, it's only by chance that I'm not one of them (my family has shares in banks, as many do), and I know that if I were I'd only care about the value of the shares rising, and not at all about the welfare of the bankers employed to run the business.
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DetectivePeralta
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(Original post by FightToWin)
It's a start. Depends on what the actual wage is and the area the person lives in. Whoever's in charge of payroll will know both and will make the decision from there. It should include enough to buy a car, decent clothes, a gym membership, occasional trips out/holidays and maybe a bit extra so the employee can work on their goals. That's a good quality of life, not just being able to exist so you can carry on going to work and the company can take everything else.

Maybe I'm just salty because I've spent most of my career making sure planes don't crash into a forest and explode killing everything on board and I've never been able to afford a car, let alone everything else. But my dad has worked 30 years as a paramedic, getting attacked by drunks and saving people's lives every day. Does he have half a good a life as the CEO of some multi-million pound profit company? Absolutely not. But I know who I respect more.
It just seems a bit entitled to suggest that everyone should be able to afford a holiday or a ‘bit extra’. These things aren’t necessary necessities. One doesn’t need these things to be happy if they’ve got a good family, housing, healthcare, education, TV. My parents both work in minimum wage jobs, we live in a small two bedroom house and we’re all quite happy. It’s amazing compared to the hundreds of millions of people across the world who barely have enough to eat or have no access to education or healthcare.
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FightToWin
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(Original post by Acsel)
I wouldn't say it's a good start to my career, more that they're a few jobs to earn money. My career hasn't actually begun yet imo.

It's interesting that you should say that, roughly how long ago was that? When I started working I was under 18 so got the sub £5 wage iirc. It then simply rose to the default minimum wage. So you were either paid the under 18 wage or the minimum wage, none of this 18-20, 21-25 bracketing stuff.

Also of note here, 90% of the people I worked with were either young students looking for some money while at college, back from uni, etc. or they were older people who were looking for easy jobs later in their life. Neither group was supporting a family. There were a few older young people who for lack of a better description, seemed like they wouldn't amount to anything. One guy I worked with is coming up on mid twenties, went to college and got A Levels and has been working retail ever since. Hasn't progressed, hasn't made any attempt to better himself.

It's difficult to say without knowing specific scenarios, but I would argue that people trying to support a family on basic wage do not have a good grip in life. If they're limited to low paying jobs then I'd argue they shouldn't be starting a family until they can reliably support a family. But that's somewhat unfair since everyone has circumstances. But I'd still question why you had a family and why you were stuck in a low paying job. Don't have kids you can't afford and don't leave yourself with no decent job options. It's not fair to generalise to everyone but it's also not completely untrue.




I apologise if my comment seemed like I implied you specifically. I intended to imply you as a general response to everyone, not yourself specifically. My bad for poor writing there.

One could argue that actually, those aren't awful jobs. It depends on a perspective. Standing in WH Smiths near a closed gate means nothing to do. I'd go crazy and think I'm wasting my time for such a small amount of money. Some people would relish the job. Same for simple stuff like loading and unloading bags. Some people just want an easy life.

Whether it supports a family is debatable, but then I don't know their exact cimrcumstances. I don't know what they get paid, why they're doing the job, how many people that wage has to feed and so on. One could argue that their life choices put them in that position. Or maybe they chose it and they're happy with it




That's fair, I wrote the part about small businesses because it popped into my head but it's not strictly relevant. But sure, big businesses could afford to pay employees more. If you've made £500 million in profit and have 500 employees you could give them all an extra million. But then you'd have no profit and of course that's a stupid example.

But let's take Tesco. I don't know what Tesco pay off hand and it might already be well above minimum wage. But let's pretend they pay exactly minimum wage. Tesco employs 500,000 people globally. Let's also pretend they're all minimum wage workers in the shops. I started looking for profit figures for Tesco here and was immediately greeted with multi billion pound losses. So not a great example already. But let's just say they make £2.26 billion in profit, which was what was reported in 2014. To factor in that some of these 500,000 workers are part time and some full time I'm just gonna say they do 30 hours per week and get paid 52 weeks per year (which is probably true due to paid holidays).

So we want to give our employees a raise of £2 per hour, not an unreasonable bump over the minimum wage. That profit is eaten into by:

£2 x 500,000 employees x 30 hours per week x 52 weeks per year

Which comes to a grand total of £1.56 billion. Over half of their overall profits just disappear. And this is for a big business with billions in profits that also managed to report much greater losses (6 billion down the year after).

So the answer here would seem that it's just damn expensive. All of a sudden, a big company with 500,000 left over doesn't actually seem like it can easily afford to give the employees a boost.



I agree that it does send mixed messages. But I can't honestly say I've actually seen a company that pays minimum wage and has a handbook in the first place. It's one of those things that I'd want to see some numbers to get a real example of.



Arguably and perhaps controversially, yes. Deserve is not quite the word I'd use though. The money we have does not end up in the hands of tose who deserve it. Footballers earn more in a week than your dad does in a year. Your dad is of much greater use to society (and I am truly thankful he does what he does). But there is also more demand for footballers which is why they can leverage a large salary.

The public sector is in a really dumb place right now, what with the lack of pay rises and so on. If I could, I would 100% increase the public sector pay to be more representative of what those people do for us. Your dad saves lives and that is worth a lot more than he gets paid for. But you can then also argue that without his boss, those lives don't get saved. Maybe your dad saves 10 lives. And maybe he's a team of 4 that save 10 lives each, overseen by a boss that does all the other necessary work. Without the boss, the team doesn't function. I don't think he should get paid 4 times as much but equally the boss had a hand in saving those 40 lives.

People always seem to say the boss shouldn't get paid loads. But those people often don't have the slightest idea what the boss actually does. In the case of a large company, the boss is making decisions that affect thousands of employees, the future of the company, managing all these resources and so on. In that respect, the work they do is worth drastically more than 1 worker on minimum wage who is simply just a cog in the machine. Yeah, without those cogs the bosses company doens't make money. But without the boss, there is no company.



That works both ways though. Employee A does little to no work and still manages to get paid as much as Employee B who does twice as much work as average Employee C. Yet they all get paid the same. Paying an employee more for doing more or better work is fair, not discriminatory. It's rewarding the effort equally. The issue is in fact with management perception of effort. They don't know that Dave is working super hard emptying the bins but see that Steve is quickly stacking shelves so give him a raise. The issue here is fairly determining who should be paid more. Everyone gets paid more works fine for the people being underpaid and does not seem at all fair for the lazy people. So I don't see that your suggestion works here tbh.

And as far as contribution goes, sure the employees contribute to the 9 figure profit. But take away the company and are they capable of the same thing? Can that employee be replaced by any other person and get the same result? What a lot of people don't realise is that those employees are in fact getting paid proportionally. If a company makes £2 billion profit during a year, that's roughly £38 million each day. If you've got 500,000 employees like Tesco, that works out to £77 per person, per day. 8 hours of work is fairly close to that at minimum wage. So proportionally speaking, these employees are in fact being paid an appropriate amount for the work they put in. Or to put it another way, each of those 500,000 employees puts in effort that makes up 0.0002% of the overall profit. So if each of those 500,000 employees is worth 0.0002% of the total £2 billion profit then each of this employees is individually worth £4000 (2 billion divided by 500,000). So at this point all of those cogs that make up the total profit are actually worth far less than the money they get paid for it

Of course all of this should be taken with a pinch of salt. It's a very specific example and won't represent every business. I'd need a business with known minimum wage payments and realsitic figures to get something more relevant. But it goes to show that a big company like Tesco which you would think has profit to spare at one point would have severely struggled to pay higher than minimum wage

Apologies for the drastically long post
You have nothing to apologise for. I was hoping this would be a good discussion and would shed some light on this question and I'm definitely happy with the responses.

I started work at the retail job a few days before my 19th birthday. I can't remember what the exact hourly rate was, but I think it was between £6 and £7. We did have the same kind of people you've described as being in your workplace, but also some people I know had families. Although it was a part time job, maybe they had another job or another half with a better job. Not my position to say.

Thanks for working out that example with Tesco, I probably should have come up with my own to support my argument but I didn't have time and I probably would've been awful at it. If I had to argue my side, I'd say your example leaves £70m after the pay rise which is still an unbelievable amount of money for shareholders and whatnot. But I admit, it's a huge chunk out of overall profits. And bringing up the wage by £2 only increases the employee's salary by a couple of thousand, so I can understand the company not really wanting to.

Other companies however, could definitely. So here's my example: Apple has 123,000 employees and $53.4 billion in profit. If the company were (in a perfect world) to split that profit between each employee, then each employee would get $434,146 between them on top of their actual pay and the company would still have enough left over to buy 7 iPhone X's. Ok, that will never happen, and I used one of the most successful companies as an example, but my point is businesses with not as many employees but big profits have it in their power.

I can assure you all of my employers claimed to care about their employees in the handbook I was given once I was employed by them, and they paid near enough minimum wage. Not enough that I could get a second hand car so I had to walk around in and get drenched to the skin, let alone rent my own flat. But I'm not going to name names just in case it gets me in trouble. You never know who's reading.

All the other points were spot on. I really don't have much to reply to that. It's late, I'm really tired. You definitely have a better understanding of it than me and I don't think I can come up with any counter arguement. So fair play, you got me. I guess the conclusion could be some companies could do it, some couldn't. I guess I should just be thankful that for now, I'm alright. Maybe I should go invest in some shares or moan to the government about inflation or something.
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FightToWin
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(Original post by usualsuspects)
This us and them philosophy is mistaken and betrays ignorance of how corporations work. Everyone in a big business could be classed as an "employee", and that definitely includes who wrote your contract and the HR people. The owners are often thousands of shareholders who do not exercise direct control over the business and view their ownership as a line and number on a computer screen and only care about whether that number increases or not. The board, as well, doesn't deal with operative matters. Managers are hired for that. They do decide pay (to a certain degree) but they have a duty to manage the company in a way that maximizes profits for shareholders, meaning they have to keep pays low, not because they hate you, nor because they want to make more money.

Employee compensation is generally the highest expense for a company.

I've recently read a contract for an investment banking role and I can assure you that, contractually, we are slaves. However, it didn't make me resentful towards HR, the lawyers who wrote my contract or the management, because I know they were only doing their job and it's their precise duty to do so. As for the owners, it's only by chance that I'm not one of them (my family has shares in banks, as many do), and I know that if I were I'd only care about the value of the shares rising, and not at all about the welfare of the bankers employed to run the business.
Fair enough.
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