There’s been a lot of talk in the past year about the minimum wage. Many states including Montana upped their minimum wage last January.

Currently Montana’s minimum wage is $8.05 per hour ($16,744 per year for a 40 hour full time job). Raising that to $15 per hour can be done — provided it is done over a suitable time period.

What’s A Suitable Time Period?

Businesses have bottom lines. If that line goes into the red for too long that business is going to be extinct.

If the profits of the company rise then either workers get raises or more workers can be hired. Neither is an emotional choice.

If forced raises are imposed on business then the logical way to control those increased labor costs is to reduce the number of warm bodies.

In polite language — kick someone to the curb.

If the raises are giving in small amounts over a period of time the company has time to adjust to the increase and keep everyone employed.

But are there other ways to pay people with some form of non-monetary compensation?

What Else Do Employees Want?

While everyone works for cash not every incentive is tied to cash. Many workers might prefer more flexible hours to take kids to and from school.

Or some might like some hours working at home and some in the main facility.

Many employees value time more than money. Family time, personal time, are often acceptable tradeoffs for employees.

Would you rather have a dollar more an hour or have a four-day workweek? Religious workers might need Sundays off. There are always ways to work with employees to have a happy, productive workforce without breaking the bank.

Are There More Important Things Than Money?

Pleasant working conditions? Appreciation from the boss or managers? Accommodation of reasonable requests? How important are things like those?

Work is hard enough without it being stressful in an unfriendly environment.

How productive can anyone be if they dread going to work and can’t wait to leave? Quality employees are not easy to find even at $15 per hour.

Some Final Thoughts

We all value different things. Lots of bills? Money, money and more money. If our finances are under control then others things like time flexibility might carry more value.

One insurance company is asking for forty hours a week from their employees. When you put in those hours are up to you. Time or Money? Which is more important to you?

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