Minimum Wage Up For Minors

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

You probably won't find an employee as enthusiastic about his job as 17-year-old J.P. Zippi, who does everything from taking tickets to dishing out treats at Lansing's Celebration Cinema.

"I love it," Zippi says. "I just love the movies, I love the environment, everyone is nice here."

What he also loves is the sub-minimum wage increase he and other minors are getting as of Friday.

"I was making $6.55 an hour, and now it went up to $7.25. I'm excited about that," Zippi says.

"It's a 70 cent increase today, which a lot of them (employees) I don't think know is coming-- they'll be surprised when they get their paycheck," says the movie theater's assistant manager Amanda Johnson.

"Most of these people will be kids working part time, under 40 hours a week," says Doug Stites of Capital Area Michigan Works.

Just like at Horrocks, where the owner Jerald Horrocks says 15 to 20 percent of his staff is minors.

"We're paying minimum wage for several years. High school kids are happy to get that," says Horrocks.

Horrocks says he understands that raising the minimum wage will be an added expense for his company. But it's something he says he's glad to do.

"I know these young people can use the money," he says.

But not every employee may feel the same.

Stites says some employers might use the wage increase as a reason to trim back.

"Businesses are still laying people off in droves. I don't think it would take that much more to lay more people off," he says.

For its part, Celebration Cinema says everything will continue to be business as usual.

And Zippi is busy making plans for the extra cash.

"I'm saving up for New York City next summer, to see Broadway shows," he says.

Looks like today he got a head start.


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