Millions of workers will see a pay increase in 2024

At the start of the new year, 22 states and 43 cities and counties are increasing the hourly minimum wage, benefiting nearly 10 million people.

And that doesn’t only affect workers at major fast food chains or retail outlets; it also includes people who work at small, locally-owned businesses.

Millions of workers around the country will see a bump in their paycheck in 2024, and companies are preparing for the higher costs of labor from hikes in the minimum wage.

While some major fast food chains like Pizza Hut are laying off employees in California ahead of a 2024 wage increase, some small business owners aren’t willing to cut their staff in the same way.

Victoria Foster owns Victory Lane Boutique in Cincinnati and touts the business benefits of higher wages.

“You have to be able to raise salaries for employees just to be able to survive, to be able to live comfortably,” she said.

In the D.C. Metro area, Scripps Baltimore found small business owners who would agree.

“I think it gives me a lot benefits in terms of recruiting, in terms of productivity, in terms of turnover,” said Aaron Seyedian, owner of Well-Paid Maids.

“The more money our consumers have, the more they’ll spend in our stores. So that seems a little selfish, but I also think it extends to all the small businesses in our communities,” said Gina Schaefer, founder and co-owner of A Few Cool Hardware Stores.

The federal minimum wage remains at $7.25. But in the 22 states boosting pay, the higher cost of labor adds up.

Scripps Buffalo spoke to restaurant owners in western New York who are figuring out how to balance supporting their employees while keeping their customers happy.

Restaurant owner Jenna Aiello says she’s not willing to sacrifice the quality of food or staff, and so for her and other small business owners around the country, the higher wages could likely mean higher prices for customers.

“It puts us in a position where my business partner and I have to put our heads down and work,” she said.