Increase in minimum wage impacts adults, not high school students


Julia Satterthwaite

By Maggie Roehling

The minimum wage in Michigan increased from $7.40 per hour to $8.15 per hour on Sept. 1 in an attempt by legislators to help those who work minimum wage jobs to be able to earn a living and live above the poverty line.

Burger King employee Amber McMillan agrees that a minimum wage increase was needed.

“With the money I earn, I can support myself and it allows me to put gas in my car,” 20-year-old McMillan said.

Minors will still earn $7.40 an hour, as the new changes only apply to those who are 18 years or older.

Rachel Gauci, 19-year-old hostess at The Meeting House in downtown Rochester, is pleased with the increase in pay, yet she disagrees with minors being paid less.

“Everybody needs money,” Gauci said. “If I were a minor, I would be annoyed because people would be making more [money] than me and it would feel like my co-workers have more value than me.”

And that’s how it does feel to 15-year-old Deena Vittiglio, but she can view the situation from both aspects.

“[The increase in minimum wage] bothers me,” Vittiglio said. “At the same time, [adults] have more responsibility and they’re not supported by their parents anymore, so they have to pay for their own stuff.”

According to Business Insider, teens spend 21 percent of their cash on food and another 21 percent on clothing. Adults, on the other hand, spend approximately 27-29 percent on housing.

“Minors don’t need the money as much,” Hicks said. “They don’t pay house bills or provide for a family.”

Vittiglio agrees. “I think minimum wage went up because prices for life went up,” Vittiglio said, “so adults making minimum wage were struggling to keep their lifestyle.”

Despite the fact that minors may not spend money on essential things, McMillan feels strongly about how only a select group people saw increases.

“It wasn’t fair because, first of all, no raises went to managers or minors,” McMillan said. “And it was just a select group of people and that’s not what the government had made it out to be.”

Likewise, Hicks doesn’t think it is completely fair.

“If I can do the same job in the same amount of time with the same quality, I should get paid the same amount of money,” Hicks said.