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How The Minimum Wage Increase Will Benefit People’s Lives

How The Minimum Wage Increase Will Benefit People’s Lives
Hokulea Rezentes

The fast food industry often gets overlooked due to the stigmatization that it’s not an industry well suited for those who need to make a living. With the job field today, finding 

employment in other specialties is nearly impossible. Many hard-working individuals must survive off minimum-wage jobs such as fast food, retail, etc. In California, the minimum wage has reached $16 an hour, which sounds like a lot compared to previous years, but with current inflation, people won’t be able to pay bills even if they work full time. On April 1st, the minimum wage for fast food workers will increase to $20 an hour in California. Raising the minimum wage will significantly benefit people’s lives for multiple reasons; let’s talk about why: 

Incentive to Work 

Although we all grow up hearing about how great working is, it’s something that we have to do rather than want to do. If people get stuck in a job where they are miserable but have to suffer to barely survive, that is not an ideal way to go through life. With the minimum wage rising by $4, people will have more of an incentive to go to work and work hard since the money they are making will be able to benefit them in their daily lives. I work in a fast food job and often question why I work so hard for a job that won’t provide me enough money to pay my bills. It’s exhausting for people to work so hard and barely make anything back in return. Incentives can be inspiring for people, causing them to better their work ethic and work harder because they are now getting the money they deserve. One of my coworkers, Isabella Gomez, said, “I want to work hard to give my kids the best life I can, and better pay will help me do just that.” She’s a hard-working mom returning to school to better her life for herself and her children. Being a student who also works full time can be difficult, but with a better incentive to work, more people will be able to succeed at this.

fast food / photo Canva free

Better At-Home Living Situations 

“I called out sick for four days and wasn’t able to pay my rent, even though I showed up to every other shift the rest of the month,” said Tayla Ackermann, a committed fast food employee for two years. After talking to Ackermann more about her living situation, she rents a room in a house for $1000 a month while working 30 hours a week at a fast food place, making $16 an hour. She was short on money when it came time to pay her monthly rent and had to pull from her savings. As she said, “Making more money will help me be able to pay my rent and other bills, even in months where I may get sick or can’t show up to work for any reason.” Students and the younger generation are trying to make a life for themselves at a young age because this is how our generation is taught to live to succeed. They have been struggling because they may still fall short no matter how hard they work. This also causes people to overwork themselves or work when they shouldn’t, such as when sick. A rise in minimum wage will cause people to feel less stressed at home and allow them to live in better/safer areas. 

Positive Trends In Mental Health 

According to Elizabeth Walters, an editor for Writing the Big City 2019, a study showed that “people who were earning only the minimum wage but deserved a significant raise scored very badly on the survey about anxiety and depression.” Working in the fast food industry can be mentally tough because constantly dealing with people can be challenging. This takes a toll on someone mentally, affecting them both at work and outside of work. Looking more into the study, it said that people “believed that raising the minimum wage would do nothing but help by reducing depression and alleviating financial strain amongst low-paid workers.” Stress is another factor that takes a toll on mental health, so having to worry about financial situations on top of the stress that already comes from work makes it even harder to function mentally. The rise of minimum wage will reduce this stress and cause people to be happier overall, which will lead to them functioning better at work. 

Looking deeper into the topic, I highlighted why the rise of minimum wage will benefit those who work in the fast food industry, retail, etc. Mental health and living situations will improve, and people will have more incentive to work harder at their jobs. I’m excited to see how people will truly benefit from the rise of minimum wage.

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About the Contributor
Hokulea Rezentes
Hi everyone! My name is Hokulea Rezentes and I'm a journalism major! This is my second year at MSJC and I love writing stories for people to read. Although I don't plan on transferring, I'm excited to get my associate's and have a future career hopefully working for a magazine. This is going to be a great semester with the club!
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