Retail Store Employees Complain of Receiving Less Overall Pay

Category: Business


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. ineligible / ɪnˈɛl ɪ dʒə bəl / (adj) – not qualified for something

    Part-time employees are ineligible for some benefits that full-time employees have.

  2. maintain / meɪnˈteɪn / (v) – to support a statement and say that it is true

    Despite the accusations, the company president maintained that he was never involved in corruption.

  3. back up (something) / bæk ʌp / (phrasal) – to prove that something is true using evidence

    The e-mails back up Mark’s claim that the company was involved in illegal transactions.

  4. make ends meet / meɪk ɛndz mit / (idiom) – to be able to buy someone’s needs with little money

    Because of the rising cost of living in the city, it’s hard to make ends meet with only one job.

  5. supplement / ˈsʌp ləˌmɛnt / (v) – to add to something

    I started a small business to supplement the small income I get from my job.


Read the text below.

Target employees are complaining of receiving lower wages despite the company’s recent move to raise hourly pay.

In 2017, the retailer promised to raise its minimum wage from $10 to $15 hourly by 2020. This raise was in compliance with a new law that required companies to give a $15 per hour minimum wage by 2024. In June this year, Target employees’ wage has been raised to $13 per hour.

However, some employees complained that even with higher wages, their overall pay has become lower. This is because the company decreased the number of hours that employees are required to work. Aside from resulting in a lower total monthly income, the fewer hours also made employees ineligible for health insurance benefits.

To address the complaints, a Target representative maintained that the employees are working around the same number of hours this year as last year. However, the company did not give data backing up this claim.

On the contrary, some of the company’s supervisors confirmed what the employees said and gave reasons for the fewer hours. They told employees that the managers had to lessen employee hours to keep wages within the company budget. However, other employees also blame the fewer hours on Target’s decision to hire additional temporary employees for the holiday season.

Most employees found the effect of the reduced hours devastating. One Florida branch employee said that her pay was no longer enough to make ends meet. A staff from Santa Clarita looked for a second job to supplement his income from Target. Another had to resort to resignation because she could no longer afford her daughter’s daycare with her new wage.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think that Target’s decision to increase wages but decrease employee hours is fair? Why or why not?
• Given the higher wages but fewer hours, what would you do if you were one of Target’s employees? Why?

Discussion B

• What do you think is the best avenue for employees to voice out their complaints (e.g. report to HR, social media)? Discuss.
• What are some ways to ensure that the policies of a company still benefit both the employees and the company? Discuss.