As minimum wage rates continue to stagnate nationally, one Cobb County natural gas provider is taking matters into its own hands. On Monday, Gas South announced that it will increase its minimum wage to $15 an hour starting September 1. The pay increase will affect nearly 50 of Gas South’s 200-person staff, mostly impacting those working in the company’s customer care department.
Georgia’s minimum wage rate is one of the lowest in the nation, and has stood at $5.25 an hour for nearly 20 years. The federal minimum wage, coming in at $7.25, is only marginally higher.
While other states – like California, New York, and Pennsylvania – have already voted to increase their minimum wage to $15 an hour, Gas South’s President and CEO Kevin Greiner insists that the company’s decision isn’t politically motivated. “This raise will help our employees experience more financial security, allow them to take care of their families more easily, and it just seemed like something we ought to do as a company,” Greiner said.
A hard look at what’s best for Gas South also helped spur the decision. According to Greiner, a higher minimum wage is “an investment that will actually reduce our costs over time because we’re going to have lower training costs, we’re going to have higher productivity, we’re going to have a higher degree of employee retention. And all of those things translate very much to our bottom line.”
Greiner added that he doesn’t encourage every business to emulate Gas South’s wage hike. He said that other Atlanta companies should take action only after considering their own individual business models.