Learn how fair wages are good for business


Won't higher wages result in layoffs?  

Domestic consumption drives the Canadian economy - household purchases account for 57 per cent of the Canadian GDP. When the wages of higher income people increase, their savings go up. But when lower income households get a raise, they spend almost all of it at local stores and restaurants and on local services. So a boost to incomes and the minimum wage in particular boosts the economy from the bottom up. Boosting wages also results in improved productivity, less absenteeism and turnover, and reduced recruitment and training costs. Between 2013 and 2014, 13 states in the USA increased the minimum wage. The majority of these states saw above-average job growth.


I can barely afford to cover my costs now. If wages go up so will the cost of everything in the stores.

Seattle is a real-life example that shows how increasing wages factor into how much items cost us at our local store. When Seattle committed to raise their minimum wage to $15/hour, researchers started studying consumer prices for goods. They found that the increase in minimum wage had no impact on the prices of goods; costs went up by the same amount in Seattle as they did in surrounding communities that didn't raise their minimum wage (University of Washington Minimum Wage Study, 2016). Prices go up for many reasons but paying a living wage means that people are able to afford to make ends meet while costs increase.


Why is full-time work and advances scheduling for my staff important?

Employees who don’t have enough hours to make ends meet will always be on the lookout for another job that will give them those hours or they may have to work more than one job which leads to exhaustion and workplace accidents, mistakes and low morale. If an employee is provided sufficient hours to make a living, they will be more committed to their job and your business. The same goes for advance notice and greater control over their schedules. Advanced schedules allow workers to plan their lives with their families, juggle caregiving and community responsibilities, and really focus on their job while at work.


Can businesses really afford paid sick time?

Employees coming to work while ill can result in contagious disease outbreaks among staff and increased absenteeism. In sectors like food services, employees working while ill can also create significant public health risks, which put companies’ reputation on the line. Experience shows that employees who have earned sick time tend to take fewer days than those to which they are entitled. Earned sick time simply makes business sense.


What can I do as a good employer?

Keep doing what you are doing! It is not always possible to implement all the measures connected to being a "good employer" at once. But incrementally and intentionally working toward ensuring you are providing good jobs will not only benefit your employees, but will contribute to the success of your business. And combining with other employers trying to do the same will create a collective voice to counter those out there who are opposed to fair wages and working conditions.