Lincoln Business believes an increase in the minimum wage could benefit everyone

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — Nebraska workers making less than $15 an hour will see a pay rise in the near future.

But what do companies think of this new wage increase?

Passed by more than 58% of voters statewide, Initiative 433 will incrementally increase wages by $1.50 each year beginning in 2023 until they reach $15 in 2026.

Thereafter, the annual wage increase is adjusted to the cost of living.

Steph Terry, director of operations and human relations for the Morrow Collision Center, said it was something everyone could benefit from.

“We have found over the years that paying our employees a fair wage increases the quality of their work,” she said. “It makes them more loyal to us as a company and it just boosts morale too. It also helps our employees stay much longer.”

Terry said they had to raise their wages a while back and they are already hiring above the $15 mark.

She said that in order to get a skilled workforce, you have to have competitive wages.

“We can’t just sit and wait and hope that qualified candidates will come to us and accept positions,” she said. “We kind of had to bite the bullet early on and decide to make that pay rise beforehand.”

Bob Hallstrom, a small business owner and state director of government relations for the National Federation of Independent Business, opposes the bill.

He said the NFIB believes the initiative may be problematic for inexperienced workers because with the raise some companies may have more qualified employees applying.

“We’re likely to see the most impact on high school and college students who are entering the job market, looking for their first job and perhaps starting out with a lower wage that will allow companies to hire them in the first place. ‘ said Hallstrom.

Initiative 433 was put to a vote after 160,000 people signed the petition.

The incremental increases are intended to give companies time to adjust.

Terry said it’s a big change for some small businesses, but it could benefit them in the long run.

“I really have a feeling that overall Lincoln will be a better city to live in,” Terry said. “People will have more disposable income. They can go out and eat out or go to events in our city because they earn a higher wage. They can simply support their families better.”


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