It shouldn’t be surprising. In Arizona, the state’s minimum wage hike, which went into effect last month, has led to teenagers being laid off, reports The Arizona Republic.
Some Valley employers, especially those in the food industry, say payroll budgets have risen so much that they’re cutting hours, instituting hiring freezes and laying off employees.
And teens are among the first workers to go.
Companies maintain the new wage was raised to $6.75 per hour from $5.15 per hour to help the breadwinners in working-poor families. Teens typically have other means of support.
Mark Messner, owner of Pepi’s Pizza in south Phoenix, estimates he has employed more than 2,000 high school students since 1990. But he plans to lay off three teenage workers and decrease hours worked by others. Of his 25-person workforce, roughly 75 percent are in high school.
“I’ve had to go to some of my kids and say, ‘Look, my payroll just increased 13 percent,’ ” he said. ” ‘Sorry, I don’t have any hours for you.’ “
While the Republic story notes that some low-wage workers have benefited, it’s come at the expense of others’ jobs.
John Weischedel, a senior at the East Valley Institute of Technology in Mesa, knows he is lucky to be making $8 per hour at an auto dealership and learning technical skills. So are most of his friends who make $9 or more per hour while still attending high school.
After the minimum-wage law went into effect, “a couple of my friends got laid off – they worked in fast food,” he said. “They’re going to wait until they’re out of high school to find other jobs.”