Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Can a Worker Get a Break?

Boss_button Cross posted on: Marquette University Law School Faculty Blog

Apparently, they should not expect one in 2009 (or maybe not in this lifetime).

MSNBC (via AP) reports:

U.S. workers can expect skimpy raises in their base salaries next year, but top performers may still fatten their paychecks with merit compensation.

A study released Tuesday by Hewitt Associates, a human resources consulting firm, found base pay will rise by 3.8 percent in 2009, marking the seventh consecutive year of flat growth.

One-time performance-based pay, however, is expected to grow by 10.6 percent. That’s down slightly from 10.8 percent this year and 11.8 percent in 2007.

Great.  On our way to more pay inequality in this country and to a place where workers will have to wait longer before being able to afford retirement (Yahoo! News via AP):

While the average retirement age remains 63, that standard may soon be going the way of the gold watch — a trend expected to accelerate as baby boomers close in on retirement without sufficient savings.

For 64-year-old John Lee, "retirement" bears a strong resemblance to his full-time working career — full of 40- and 50-hour weeks as an IT technical support specialist. He's not strapped but likes the extra cash and the feeling of being needed.

But for Melissa Fodor, a retired travel agent who works part-time as a caregiver for the elderly, the extra work "keeps my head above water" and there's no end in sight to that financial need at age 68.

Although the work is satisfying, she confides that "financially I'm kind of scared most of the time. Because what should happen if my health and my body fail?"

Lower wages on a yearly basis are not the only reason for individuals working longer.  The ascendence of consumer driven 401(k) pension plans means that when the market suffers a downturn (like now), workers have less to retire on.

Consider from your daily experiences how many more older people you see these days working at Lowe's, McDonalds, etc.



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