Financial experts say they have developed a plan to increase the minimum wage

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RICHMOND, Virginia (WWBT) – With the New Year, new changes are being made to some Virginians’ paychecks!

As of January 1, the minimum wage in the Commonwealth was reduced from $ 9.50 an hour to $ 11. It’s part of a tiered approach to try to raise the minimum wage to $ 15 an hour by 2026.

While legislation signed in 2021 by Governor Ralph Northam will raise the minimum wage to $ 12 an hour by 2023, the General Assembly will have to vote and approve increases beyond that in order to reach $ 15 per hour. time.

However, with the increase in 2022, financial experts say now is the time to make a plan.

“You’re planning on around $ 60 more per week or $ 240 per month, which may not sound like much, but if you can develop a plan around what to do with that extra $ 240 each month, it can really pay off. to someone at the end of the day. “said Cherry Dale, vice president of financial education at Virginia Credit Union.

This plan can include paying off your debts or even putting money aside in a savings account.

However, with the recent surge, Dale said it’s also important to see if this will impact any assistance programs you might be a part of.

“The maximum is around $ 2,000 for assets receiving SNAP benefits,” Dale said. “So is it going to have an impact on them to get this help?” If so, they really have to plan around that – what am I going to do, how am I going to shop for groceries if that added benefit isn’t there.

For years people have pleaded in the state capital to raise the minimum wage.

Prior to the 2021 increase to $ 9.50 an hour, Virginia had not raised the minimum wage since 2009

Now, with the struggles of the pandemic, Dale said families need to look at their overall career paths as well.

“The market is just great right now, especially for these entry level positions,” she added. “Many employers pay more than the minimum just to attract good employees, maybe even at a premium. “

However, it is a struggle that affects certain industries.

Virginia Restaurant Travel and Lodging Association president Eric Terry said they didn’t expect wage increases to increase workforce at companies. Persistent concerns about dealing with the public amid the pandemic may be another factor.

“I think a lot of them are starting to look at their benefit plans, whether it’s paid time off or health care offerings when they maybe weren’t before. Said Terry.

Terry went on to describe the current staff situation as “critical” in these companies.

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