School is Out, Resumes are In and Minimum Wages are Up
June 6, 2011
Summer officially starts when the final school bell rings, and students hit the bricks looking for that elusive summer job. That makes it a good time for a refresher on current minimum wage laws and scheduled increases. Since Summer 2010, each Atlantic Canadian Province has increased its minimum wages. Prince Edward Island is the only Atlantic Province with a scheduled minimum wage rate increase during Summer 2011. Each of Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have also scheduled minimum wage rate increases in Fall 2011.
Nova Scotia continues to have a two-tiered minimum wage system for experienced and inexperienced workers. Experienced workers are those with experience in a particular area of work and/or who have been employed by the same employer for more than three calendar months. Since October 1, 2010 the minimum wage has been $9.65/hour for experienced employees and $9.15/hour for inexperienced. These rates are scheduled to increase on October 1, 2011 by 3.6% to $10/hour and $9.50/hour respectively. While the amount is yet to be determined, future increases can be expected annually to reflect any increase in inflation beginning in April 2012.
The final step in New Brunswick’s four-stage plan to increase rates to the Atlantic average of $10/hour will take effect on September 1, 2011, when the rate will increase by $0.50 over the current rate of $9.50/hour in effect since April 1, 2011. There are no future increases scheduled. However, the provincial Minimum Wage Board has introduced the concept of a “tip differential wage” and a “training wage” for inexperienced workers, which the government may consider in coming years.
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
A three-phase increase to Prince Edward Island’s current minimum wage of $9/hour is set to bring the rate in line with the other Atlantic Provinces, while giving employers time to make the necessary budgetary adjustments:
• $9.30/hour on June 1, 2011
• $9.60/hour on October 1, 2011
• $10/hour on April 1, 2012
NEWFOUNDLAND & LABRADOR
The minimum wage reached $10/hour in Newfoundland & Labrador on July 1, 2010. No further increases are scheduled; however, legislation in the province requires that the minimum wage be reviewed every two years from the most recent increase.
The minimum wage rate is the lowest rate an employer is permitted to pay an employee. As a result of increases in the minimum wages throughout Atlantic Canada over the last few years (see our June 2010 Newsletter “Minimum Wage Rates Climbing Across Atlantic Canada”), Atlantic Canada’s minimum wage rates now match, and in some instances surpass, the rates in other Canadian provinces. It is important that employers note there are variations among provinces respecting the minimum wage for various classes of workers and to the number of weekly hours for the minimum overtime rate to apply.
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