Hiring part-time labor to deal with minimum wage

2 Dec

Part-time workers are becoming common.

The Society for Human Resources Management has called 2014 "The Year of the Minimum Wage."  Not only is the federal government pushing for a higher wage, but many state governments have also passed laws that will increase the minimum amount of money that employers can pay.

How the money is paid depends on the state, with some requiring payments that correspond directly to hours worked, while others allow employers to pay based on commission or tips. Businesses that employ workers who are close to the minimum wage should carefully monitor the hours that people do so that they don't go over the maximum amount of time spent working for the salary they earn.

For states where pay increases have been approved, wages will increase beginning Dec. 31, 2014.

Working with the minimum wage and maintaining overhead
One way that companies can keep their workers without spending too much money on the boosted minimum wage is to begin hiring part-time labor. There is a challenge here, according to Human Resources Executive Online, because businesses have been known to treat part-time workers without the respect due to employees of a company. One example is sending workers home early to avoid paying them extra cash. Companies with employee management software can easily manage the timing for moving workers between shifts, should they choose to do this.

The issue with part-timers tends to be work-life balance. These employees often have multiple jobs, along with a family to support, so it can be hard for them to earn a wage while spending time with the people they are caring for. Other times, part-time workers are putting themselves through school while working on the side to pay for tuition.

"Part-time workers have other things going on in their lives," said Carrie Gleason, director of the Fair Workweek Initiative, in an interview with HRE Online. "They have second jobs. They take care of their kids. They go to school. The kind of variation in hours they are expected to endure is really tough on workers and their families."

As such, employers can help by providing stable hours and an easy-to-understand promotion system. If a worker proves himself or herself to be excellent, then maybe that person deserves to be given full-time opportunities or additional work. The part-time worker has changed recently from typically being a housewife or a student to someone who couldn't find work in another role that was full time, according to HRE Online. This means that it may be difficult to keep someone around once he or she finds something full time. Treating part-time labor with respect is one way to keep them working at their current jobs instead of looking for full-time ones.

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