The midterm election results saw Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota raising the state minimum wage requirements at the same time President Obama is pushing a more aggressive proposal to increase the federal minimum wage.
“Tuesday’s vote shows that voters in these states have an appetite for increasing the minimum wage, but they are more interested in doing it in incremental fashion,” said Brett Coburn, partner in the firm’s Labor & Employment Group. He added that Obama’s proposal would have a much more immediate impact on businesses – especially smaller companies.
“I would expect it would impact smaller businesses that are less able to absorb shock to their system,” Coburn said. “It’s really going to focus on industries that have a lot of low wage earner workers; certainly the smaller ones are going to be more damaged by it.”
Coburn said a lot of companies have been bracing for a minimum wage increase for a while.
“They’ve been adjusting their business models in participation of that,” he said, adding that it will likely result in some layoffs, as well as costs being passed onto the consumer.
“The money has to come from somewhere,” he said.