Increase in minimum salary would stimulate robotization in industry and services

The gradual measure that wants to raise the minimum wage to $ 15 per hour in the year 2022 in California, could be counterproductive for less qualified employees who would be replaced by machines, not only in industry, but also in services, according to some analysis.

A study presented in June of 2017 by the University of Washington, analyzed the results of a measure of increase of the minimum wage applied in Seattle, comparing it with other cities of the state of Washington that did not establish a mandatory increase.

In its conclusions, the study stated that “the job losses associated with mandatory salary increases in Seattle are in fact large enough to result in net reductions in payroll expenses and in total employee income.”

Quickly, the Labor Center of the University of California at Los Angeles presented its own study to contradict the findings of the Washington analysis.

“The $ 15 minimum wage law in California will substantially increase lifetime earnings among low-income workers,” the UC Center analysis argued.

According to an article from the Institute of Public Policy of California, the increase in the minimum wage can lead to more than a third of workers who currently receive social benefits such as Medi-Cal, financial aid for health insurance. Covered California or the CalFresh food program loses them, ending up with less net income than before.

As of January 1 of this year, workers who earn the minimum wage in the “Golden State” received an automatic increase to earn 11 dollars per hour in those companies with 26 or more employees.

A projection by the Office of Legislative Analysis estimated that, in California, workers who will benefit when the minimum wage reaches $ 15 per hour will be those who earned $ 12.50 or less per hour in 2016, about 5 million people and equivalent to 30% of the total state employees.

Others believe that the increase in the minimum wage could lead to the loss of some social benefits.

After the year 2022, the increase is linked to the inflation index, according to the latest version of the law that orders the salary increase.

Although initiatives are timid so far, some destabilizers are beginning to be implemented, such as the case of a McDonald’s establishment in Prismo Beach, northwest of Los Angeles, where customers can order their orders automatically from the door.

An undisputed leader in marketing and sales through the Internet, the innovative Amazon is also taking the lead with automation in its packaging and distribution warehouses, where more than 45,000 robotic units work “hand in hand” with employees in two dozen plants Worldwide.

Similarly, other factors such as labor shortages in areas as essential as agriculture is stimulating the development of machines that could perform functions as delicate as the harvesting of strawberries, something previously exclusive for day laborers. (efeusa)

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