Every day it seems like another company announces that it is planning to give raises to its workers – CVS, Walmart, and Starbucks, just to name a few. Regardless of the motivation for these raises, they present an opportunity for workers to build their financial security.
Over the last year, Commonwealth has worked to learn more about the issues that low-wage workers face, and the opportunities presented by wage hikes. We conducted a national survey of minimum wage workers and found that they see the opportunity – many said that they'd use their raise to increase savings or pay down debt.
Our work in the field found that there were few easy ways for them to act on this opportunity. Pilots with a large non-profit in Silicon Valley and a provider of financial empowerment services in NYC reinforced that easy access to a high-quality savings product is a significant challenge.
Another finding from our work with employers of lower wage workers was that they have limited HR capacity – most had the will but not the way to support the financial security of their employees. We are testing a website prototype with DIY resources for small businesses – explore the website and tell us what you think.
We're now turning our attention towards Chicago, Oregon, and Minneapolis where minimum wage hikes will go into effect on July 1, 2018 and to employers who are raising wages across the country. We've already secured a partnership with Oregon Saves, a state-offered retirement plan, to design and execute a campaign to increase retirement contributions with the July 1 wage hike.
We're looking forward to collaborating with new partners in testing innovative approaches to using the moment of a raise to build employees’ financial security. Contact us if you’re interested.