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New minimum wage bill to increase retail costs

"The Labor Department will send literature to retailers impacted by the minimum wage increases and the related overtime provisions, in order to provide an understanding of the change in the hours-wages law, and thus aid in avoiding violations. The Department does not expect that retailers will have as much difficulty in meeting the wage requirements as they will with the overtime provisions.
The new hours-wages amendment so far applies only to stores doing at least a sales volume of $1 million yearly, and buying $250,000 worth of materials from out of state. For these stores, the hourly minimum wage of workers newly covered will go to $1 in September, and gradually increase to September 1965 when it will go to $1.25. For workers now covered, their present $1 hourly minimum will jump to $1.15 this September, and will advance to $1.25 in two years.
The accompanying overtime provisions will not begin to go into effect until September 1963, when retailers will be required to pay time and a half for hours worked in excess of 44 in a work week. A year later the maximum work week will be trimmed to 42 hours, and in September 1965 it will drop to 40 hours, the standard in the hours-wages law.
The effect on individual retailers of the hours-wages amendment is not measurable by a specific formula. For example, opponents of the amendment asserted during committee hearings, and Congressional members in the debate that followed, asserted that the wage increase on the lower level would force increases throughout virtually all levels. Thus, if the point is valid, the effect could spread beyond the bare minimum itself.
More important is assertion made as to the broader effect of the hours-wages amendment on the future. Serious and thoughtful observers, experienced in the ways of legislation and its results, assert that the amendment has opened the way to federal regulation of all businesses, "down to the corner store." A Senate conferee on a like bill last year stated in the Senate, following a House-Senate conference, that this was exactly what most of the conferees were after. And now that there is new legislation, a Washington counsel, normally very cautious in expression, has stated that the amendment is "a foot-in-the-door that could lead to permanent control by Washington bureaucrats of all businesses ... no matter how small or local."\\ (June 1961 "Handbags & Accessories," page 42)


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Page last modified on October 22, 2006, at 12:32 PM