Letter to the Editor | Glad to read UnityPoint increases minimum wage

Your January 2021 Issue of the Community Word carried the good news that UnityPoint Health will be raising minimum hourly pay to $15. I am happy to know that this hospital nonprofit corporation has taken this step that will improve the lives of their lowest paid workers.

When the inevitable conversation comes up about the sudden increase in wages, let us remember that $15 per hour will not grant a life of luxury. A person making $9 an hour, in 52 weeks of 40 hours makes $18,720 per year before taxes — Social Security and Medicare taxes as well as income taxes. The same person making $15 per hour in the same time will make $31,200 per year minus all the taxes mentioned above. The amount of money available for the expenses of living will increase but $31,200 is still a frugal existence.

Each of us should try to envision what our lives might be if we were forced to live and raise a family on that income. It could make for a sobering conversation.

Martha Willi
Peoria physician who has seen the impact of poverty on health

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