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Increased Minimum Wages Require Hour Cuts to Compensate, Whole Foods Example Shows

Minimum Wages Rise, Hours Cut for Whole Foods Employees

Amazon recently began a $15 minimum wage for its employees at Whole Foods [1], but then the grocery store began cutting workers’ hours, according to the Guardian [2].

The multinational e-commerce company enacted the increased wage in November [3] for all U.S. workers, in response to public pressure [4] and criticism over its pay for employees.

The same wage increase that the supermarket chain employees [5] fought for, however, has lead to widespread cuts across stores, Whole Foods employees told The Guardian.

“My hours went from 30 to 20 a week,” said one Illinois-based worker. “We just have to work faster to meet the same goals in less time.”

Once the wage increase was established, the worker said that part-time “employee hours at their store were cut from an average of 30 to 21 hours a week” and that full-time employees were “reduced from 37.5 hours to 34.5 hours.”

The worker showed schedules of their department to the Guardian from November to January that showed workers’ hours “significantly” decreased, while the store labor budget “stayed relatively the same.”



“This hours cut makes that raise pointless as people are losing more than they gained and we rely on working fullshifts,” said a Maryland worker, who had their full-time schedule cut by four hours.

In order to make up for the missing hours, some of the grocery-chain workers have dipped into their paid time off and used it to round their hours up to 40.

“At my store, all full-time members are 36 to 38 hours-per-week now. So, what workers do if they want a full 40 hours is take a little bit of their paid time off each week to fill their hours to 40,” explained a worker in Oregon. “Doing the same myself.”

In addition, the cut hours have led to understaffing issues that have affected how the store runs.

“Things that have made it more noticeable are the long lines, the need to call for cashier and bagging assistance, and customers not being able to find help in certain departments because not enough are scheduled, and we are a big store,” said California worker.



“Just about every person on our team has complained about their hours being cut. Some have had to look for other jobs as they can’t make ends meet.”

In an internal email shared to the Guardian, the cuts within all stores are “the direct result of guidance from our regional team.”

Amazon purchased Whole Foods [6] for $13 billion in August 2017 but was met with pressure from workers who collectively organized [7] to combat large operational shifts on the supermarket. The union, Whole Worker [8], was started in response to Amazon’s purchase to protect Whole Foods employees.

“There are many team members working at Whole Foods today whose total compensation is actually less than what it was before the wage increase due to these labor reductions,” said a Whole Worker spokesperson.



Image: Depositphotos.com