Posted: March 27, 2014, 1:50 p.m. EDT
President Obama’s push to raise the national minimum wage to $10.10 an hour received a thumbs-up from the pet store chain Chuck & Don’s.
The Mahtomedi, Minn., company, which operates 25 stores across Minnesota and Colorado, has set its minimum hourly wage at $10.10, or $2.85 higher than the federal minimum.
The raise came after Chuck & Don’s improved employee health-care benefits in anticipation of the Affordable Care Act. The company reported investing $150,000 into health-care benefits in early 2013 and plans to spend an additional $250,000 in 2014.
"Health care is critical,” said CEO Bob Hartzell. "We’re not waiting for mandates to do what’s right for our team members and their families.”
Chuck & Don’s offers three employee health-care packages featuring various deductibles, premiums and coverage levels. Two of the plans allow employees to enroll in a health-care savings account that includes a company match of up to $650.
The company last year launched a flexible spending account to help employees take advantage of pretax benefits.
"We want everyone who contributes to the company to share in its successes, from the part-time team members to our managers and corporate office staff,” Hartzell said.
Chuck & Don’s employs about 142 full-time and 153 part-time workers.
The chain also is generous with charities. The company facilitated the donation of $225,939 on behalf of animal-related causes in Minnesota and Colorado in 2013. Chuck & Don’s also provided $20,000 worth of gifts and services and participated in the donation of 115,000 pounds of pet food.
A move is underway in the Minnesota Legislature to raise the state’s minimum hourly wage to $9.50 from as low as $5.25 at some small companies. Colorado’s minimum wage is $8.
Chuck & Don’s was founded by Charles "Chuck” Anderson and Don Tauer.
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