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Retailers work to improve public image with wage increases

Employers face a variety of pressures to stay profitable in today’s economy. One wrong move and public opinion and legal issues can create a dent in the business’s bottom line. Employment litigation can often drag out in the public arena, wreaking havoc for a company. In order to avoid problems, employers often need to understand current employment laws and hot-button issues. In recent months, the issue of raising the minimum wage has been at the forefront of many American’s minds.

Now, according to recent reports, many retailers are taking steps to protect themselves from a bad public image when it comes to their wages. In many cases, people believe that retail workers earn minimum wage or are otherwise poorly compensated. Many argue that these views on the industry are outdated and a thing of the past.

In response to these criticisms, many large employers have chosen to increase their wages and benefits packages. Retail giants like Walmart, T.J. Maxx and The Gap have all announced wage increases in recent months. Industry insiders claim that these increases not only change the public’s perception of the retail industry, but it helps these businesses find and keep quality employees.

However, despite this recent trend, the National Retail Federation still officially opposes an increase in the federal minimum wage. Instead, the National Retail Federation argues that these types of employment decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis as determined by the individual retailers.

Michigan businesses should understand how complex wage and hour claims can be. In cases where there are questions about compliance with state and federal employment laws, businesses can face suits. By understanding the legal rules surrounding the minimum wage and their options, business can avoid costly litigation.

Source: The Detroit News, “Retail tries to lift image as employer, and pay is key,” Maria Halkias, March 30, 2015

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