I watched a variety of programs tonight, with the news touching on terrorism, catching terror cells, and preventing an act of terror. Then they moved into the perceived racism, sexism, and the white boys network in the Oscars. In flipping channels I happened on a two hour show dedicated to dog awards... I only stayed for the beer commercial that was on as I passed by. PBS News Hour had a new segment about what's NOT trending... including global stories that don't get repeated on every news program. The un-trending segment was the most interesting.
Another report was about President Obama and the increase of paid sick leave from five days to seven days. It reminded me of my own quest to find solutions to employer-employee issues that GOD would approve of... for Working Together.
In my quest for wage solutions, I finally decided that commitment is the main issue. As a low-paid worker all my life, my concern is for fairness at the bottom of the wage equation... what is enough for a person to live on decently, how much is fair to both employer and employee -- in GOD's eyes. The ongoing controversy over minimum wage and benefits is part of my own quest.
Working Together isn't a traditional business, it was created for the preservation of the Body of Christ as the End Times increase in persecution and need. In the Body of Christ, we are all equal. It was important to me that our structure reflected that equality. After a lot of searching and praying, I eventually returned to my original plan of everyone receiving the same wages and benefit options. As I went through my search for the right amounts, I realized that Working Together needs to see their employees as a yearly support relationship, not an hourly wage provider.
Using the tithe as a basis for finding the right amount for benefits, and looking for a yearly wage that was affordable to the company and reasonable for the employee to live on, I created a five week income focus for benefit expenses. Part of this wage-benefit amount would have to include food, shelter, medical, and transportation options. It would also need to include vacation, sick days, and personal days.
Trying to figure out the best way to divide this goal into a variety of employee needs was a real challenge. I am still working on it. I have decided that this approach is really what all businesses need to consider, especially ministries and churches. I hope it will become the norm, but I know it probably won't. Leaders in many ministries see their wages as a measure of their worth, and low wages will not afford a nice house in an upscale neighborhood with great schools. I don't need other ministries to do what I think Working Together needs to do, I just need to do what I think GOD wants done to prepare for the future.
The government forces companies to do what it feels is a reasonable right of its citizens... usually because businesses (and the government) do not always do what is right willingly. Minimum wage and benefits are part of this forced relationship.
My view is that the lowest paid workers need to be able to live in decent housing and be able to afford their basic food, clothing, and transportation needs. There are other issues to consider, but basic needs come first. Minimum wage has to be an average amount because the cost of living varies greatly around the country, and around the world.
I am working on a 30% housing and 20% food budget to find the right numbers for Working Together, and our full-time hours will be at 30 per week, not 40. As GOD allows, we will create staff housing, food, and other allocations as part of the wage and benefit options. Each employee will be able to decide which benefit choices are most important to them, but all will have the same options to choose from.
Employers cannot provide everything a person wants any more than the government can provide all the health care a person wants. We need options to choose from, like being able to use our paid days off as vacation, sick, or personal days... not a forced number for each.
In my efforts to work out the wages, benefits, and other costs, I came up with the need to create at least $30,000 in profit to pay for one employee...sometimes more. Now I have to figure out how to sell enough to gather that kind of money and continue this committed work relationship "until death do us part."
Please pray for the wisdom and opportunity to accomplish this goal...
or at least get it started ! :-)