Massive percentage boost

Hard Rock International is putting a sizeable chunk of change into the pockets of thousands of its US employees. On Monday, the entertainment and hospitality company announced that it will give about 10,000 of its non-tipped staff significant raises, totaling over $100 million.

The pandemic shined a light on the awful pay that many around the United States have had to deal with, resulting in workers taking a stand, not settling for sub-livable wages. There has been a push on Capitol Hill for a $15 per hour national minimum wage, which is still terrible, but immensely better than the current $7.25 per hour, and would raise millions of people out of poverty.

Hard Rock’s new company-wide minimum wage is $18-$21 per hour, effective immediately. The raises would apply to positions like cook, casino cashier, front desk clerks, and housekeepers, 95 job classifications in all.

Per the Philadelphia Inquirer, an entry-level wage employee in Florida, where Hard Rock has Seminole Hard Rock locations in Hollywood and Tampa, would earn $8-$11 more per hour than the state’s $10 minimum wage, extrapolating to over $16,000 in additional annual pay.

Entry-level workers at Hard Rock Atlantic City would earn up to $6 per hour above New Jersey’s $13 per hour minimum wage. The $37,440 annual earnings still isn’t much, but it’s a ton better than $27,040, which it would be at the state’s minimum wage.

Praise all around

Bob McDevitt, president of Atlantic City’s Local 54 of the Unite Here union called it a “great move,” adding, “It’s going to have a big impact everywhere they operate.”

One reason for the wage increase is that Hard Rock wants to be sure its employees can withstand a rising cost of living. The other reason is competitive: higher starting wages will attract more and better job applicants.

“We looked at all the starting salaries of all our (front) line employees, certainly recognizing the economic conditions that have been going on,” said Hard Rock chairman and CEO Jim Allen. “We just wanted to do something to really help out and show appreciation to our employees. We’re trying to find the highest quality employees, thanking them for their efforts and recognizing that with compensation.”

“It will give Hard Rock a competitive advantage at a time when labor is relatively tight,” said David Schwartz, a gambling historian at the UNLV. “The service industry may be at a crossroads, and raising pay is one way to attract excellent employees.”

While the pay increase will primarily benefit hourly wage employees, some of Hard Rock’s salaried employees will also receive merit-based pay raises.

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