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Dick’s Drive-in Adopts $19 Minimum Wage: ‘Our Jobs Are Challenging’

Dick's Drive-in Adopts $19 Minimum Wage: 'Our Jobs Are Challenging'
Written by Publishing Team

  • Dick’s Drive-In chain in Seattle raises minimum wage to $19 an hour amid a labor shortage.
  • It also mitigates eligibility for childcare and pays overtime for work in excess of 32 hours per week.
  • “Our jobs are challenging and physically demanding,” said Dick President Jasmine Donovan.

The popular fast-food chain in Seattle is raising the minimum wage to attract and retain workers amid a severe labor shortage sweeping the industry.

Dick’s Drive-In said in a Facebook post on Wednesday that it will raise the minimum wage to $19 an hour starting Monday, up from $18 an hour. Employees will be paid $20 an hour after they pass the first skills test, which Dick says can be taken in an average of 12 weeks. This means that they will see a $1 per hour wage bump after passing the test; Previously, their wages would increase by 25 cents an hour when they passed. With the changes, Dick’s non-management employees can make up to $21.75 an hour.

“I know from personal experience how hard our employees work every day,” Dick’s boss, Yasmine Donovan, wrote in the ad. “Our jobs are challenging and physically demanding.”

For the remainder of the year, Dick’s will also pay overtime to workers who work more than 32 hours per week. Previously, the chain was paid overtime for working more than eight hours a day or more than 40 hours a week.

“A lot of our shifts are understaffed,” Donovan told Insider. “Our employees have to work even harder than they normally do to continue serving our customers.”

Alongside these changes, Dick’s is also reducing eligibility requirements for employees to access funds available for child care and scholarships. The chain previously required employees to work for at least six months before they could take advantage of the benefit. Now, workers become eligible once they pass the first skills test.

Donovan told Insider that it was “very difficult” to find workers.

“Work is the main challenge at the moment,” she said.

Dick’s is usually looking to hire one to two workers at any given time. In all of its locations, this number is up to a maximum of 14 workers. Now, Dick needs to hire about 50 workers, or more than three times the usual number.

“We were hoping to see more applicants,” she said, noting that applications have fallen since the summer. “We had a lot of applicants in July, although for a lot of people who applied, either what they were looking for in a job didn’t really match what we had, so it wasn’t always a good fit, or when we called them in for an interview, they wouldn’t They come.”

Until Dick’s reaches normal employment levels, a few of its locations will close at 8 p.m., six hours earlier than their usual 2 a.m. closing.

The rise of the wage and benefits gamut is implicitly at odds with a common point of discussion among those who oppose wage increases. Some people on this side of the debate say fast food jobs usually don’t pay well because they’re meant to be short-term, not long-term careers.

“We don’t expect anyone to work with us for their entire career,” Donovan said in the ad. “We hope that our employees will serve for a few years, use the experience and benefits to grow personally and professionally and move forward to pursue something they are passionate about. It is an honor for us to be a part of that journey.”

Other restaurants have experienced similar shortages of workers in the narrow job market. Many had to close after losing staff. Lots of companies have also struggled to rein in shadows, a practice in which workers quickly move from one job to another, quitting without explanation, Insider’s Dominic Reuter reports.

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