FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Some Arkansans started the new year with a bigger paycheck as minimum wage went up. Starting January 1, 2021, the minimum wage went up by one dollar to $11 an hour.
Local community leaders tell us it’s about all workers taking home a livable wage and boosting the economy but the health crisis has made it much more challenging.
The majority of Arkansans voted for the initiative to raise the minimum wage back in 2018. At the time, the minimum wage was $8.50.
For jobs with tips, those workers will get a base pay of $2.63 cents. They must make the hourly minimum wage with their tips included. The employer covers the difference.
Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, President and CEO, Steve Clark said this is a good thing for Northwest Arkansas which continues to see growth in its business sector, housing and population.
He said to be able to keep good people here and attract innovative talent from other regions, you need competitive pay.
“I’m going to live a place where I’m going to enjoy the lifestyle there, like the parks, the trails… but also can make a living and not only can I take care of myself, but if I choose to have a family, I can take care of my family,” said Clark.
Clark said some business owners will have to make some tough decisions about raising prices, making adjustments to their hours or employment to cover the cost but there are also programs that can help.
The chamber is here to connect local businesses with resources, various programs or technologies to help them succeed.
Clark tells us the pandemic is forcing people to find creative, smarter and more efficient ways to make their business work.
Clark said it also takes the support of the community. He encourages everyone to get behind the businesses in their area and spend money locally.
“Anytime you can order a meal out, order a meal out and pick it up. Anytime you can put some infusion of cash back into Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers or Bentonville or wherever you live, you’re helping our economy. You’re helping that business,” said Clark.