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Friday, November 28, 2014

When Raising the Minimum Wage Isn't Enough

From a business end of things, workers' compensation is all about money. Wages are the driving force that sets rates of compensation and premiums paid. From an employee standpoint workers' compensation is all about delivery of benefits in an efficient and adequate fashion. Wages also play a more important role....survival in a tough world.. Today's post was shared by Steven Greenhouse and comes from

Vermont has some of the most progressive wage-and-hour laws in the country, but low-income workers are still struggling.
Lauren Giordano/The Atlanti
BURLINGTON, Vt.—Johann Kulsic arrived in this city with an optimistic feeling that he’d finally begun his ascendancy to the middle class. He’d been accepted into the University on Vermont with a partial scholarship, and he looked forward to leaving behind the poverty of his upbringing in Rhode Island, and making something of himself, perhaps studying computer science.
But as the freezing cold of a Vermont fall turned into winter, it slowly dawned on Kulsic that he might need to make a detour. He’d taken out a loan of $16,000 to cover the remainder of his expenses, and couldn’t earn enough to make the requisite payments on it—so he dropped out of college and started working at a local grocery store for $8.75 an hour, pennies above the state’s minimum wage.
After six months, he received a raise, to $8.85 an hour, and in January he'll get another, when the state's minimum wage climbs to $9.15—but raises don't do much good.
Kulsic only gets 33 to 35 hours a week, and struggles to pay for heat, food, and transportation. He typically rides a bike the three miles to work, but his bike broke, so these days, he walks or takes the bus. He’s asked for more hours—or more consistent hours, at least—but his employer, whose name he asked me not to use, doesn’t want to give...
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