The Golden State has come a long way in one year; California’s latest unemployment rate fell to 7.9% in May 2021 compared to 16.3 % at the same time last year. But despite these promising statistics, there’s a new issue employers are now facing.
Whether you side with Republican lawmakers who have blamed enhanced unemployment benefits for fueling the problem or Democratic-leaning economists who blame low wages, the issue is not going away and is an ever-growing concern as the summer and tourist season approaches.
According to a New York Times article, some workplaces are bypassing traditional incentives for a more unique approach this year. One company, Waste Management, is now offering to pay for education. They’re willing to provide cash for employees to earn their bachelor’s or associate degrees, as well as certificates in areas like data analytics and business management. But the perks don’t stop there. They have also expanded that offer to include scholarships for employees’ spouses and children.
The restaurant chain Chipotle has also joined the push for new worker incentives. The Mexican grill is now offering free college tuition to employees who work at least 15 hours per week after four months on the job. Amazon has also promised to increase pay between 50 cents and $3 per hour for more than 500,000 workers in the U.S, and wholesaler Costco raised its minimum wage to $16 per hour in an attempt to boost worker retention.
In an even more unconventional strategy, Omni Hotels & Resorts is offering incentives ahead of the summer rush that include things like discounted and free hotel rooms, guaranteed entry into the company’s management training program for staff members who stay through Labor Day, and a free set of knives and weekly sit-downs with the executive chef for members of their culinary team.
As the post-pandemic pendulum swings in the direction of the employee – for now – knowing the market data on salary, having on the job experience and the confidence to negotiate a higher wage are all crucial bargaining chips for employees heading back to the office.
Experienced Employment Law Attorney, Mediator, Arbitrator, Investigator, Legal and Media Commentator
Twice-named a U.S. News Best Lawyer in America for employment and labor law, Angela Reddock-Wright is an employment and labor law attorney, mediator, arbitrator, and certified workplace and Title IX investigator (AWI-CH) in Los Angeles, CA. Known as the “Workplace Guru,” Angela is an influencer and leading authority on employment, workplace/HR, Title IX, hazing, and bullying issues.
Angela is a regular legal and media commentator and analyst and has appeared on such media outlets as Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight, Law and Crime with Brian Ross, Court TV, CNN, NewsNation, ABC News, CBS News, Fox 11 News, KTLA-5, the Black News Channel, Fox Soul – The Black Report, NPR, KPCC, Airtalk-89.3, KJLH Front Page with Dominique DiPrima, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times, Forbes.com, Yahoo! Entertainment, People Magazine, Essence Magazine, the Los Angeles Sentinel, LA Focus, Daily Journal, Our Weekly and the Wave Newspapers.
Angela is a member of the panel of distinguished mediators and arbitrators with Judicate West, a California dispute resolution company. She also owns her own dispute resolution law firm, the Reddock Law Group of Los Angeles, specializing in the mediation, arbitration, and investigation of employment discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and other workplace claims, along with Title IX, sexual harassment, assault, and misconduct conduct cases, along with hazing and bullying cases in K-12 schools, colleges and universities, fraternities and sororities; fire, police and other public safety agencies and departments; and other private and public sector workplaces.
For more information regarding resources for employers, businesses, and employees during this time, connect with her on LinkedIn for new updates, or contact her here. You may also follow her on Instagram.
This communication is not legal advice. It is educational only. For legal advice, consult with an experienced employment law attorney in your state or city.