The earnings of 20,000 Albertans will rise Sept. 1 when the province increases its minimum wage and introduces a new wage for liquor servers. The general minimum wage will rise from $8.80 per hour to $9.40 per hour.
The new minimum wage rates represent a 6.8-per-cent increase for general workers and a 2.8-per-cent increase for liquor servers, the first changes to minimum wage in Alberta since April 2009.
“While just over one per cent of employees earn minimum wage, we want to ensure that the minimum wage rate in Alberta is reasonable. We also want to maintain the important balance between attracting people into entry-level positions and helping their employers remain competitive,” said Thomas Lukaszuk, minister of employment and immigration.
A new minimum wage of $9.05 per hour will also be introduced for workers who serve alcohol as part of their regular job, recognizing these employees also earn tips.
“Having a different minimum wage for liquor servers recognizes that these individuals earn a significant part of their income from tips,” said Lukaszuk. “It will also give business owners greater flexibility in the way they pay other staff, such as cooks and dishwashers.”
The minimum wage for liquor servers will remain at $9.05 per hour until the general minimum wage reaches $10.05 per hour. From that point on, both wage rates will increase and the $1 differential will be maintained, said the government.
Also beginning Sept. 1, Alberta will use a new formula as the basis for decisions about future increases to its minimum wage. The new formula will be a simple average of changes to Alberta’s annual average weekly earnings and changes to the Consumer Price Index in Alberta, said the government. The previous formula for determining changes was based on Alberta’s average weekly earnings only. Changes would occur Sept. 1 of each year and be announced with three months’ notice.
“This new approach to minimum wages gives clear direction and long-term stability to minimum wage earners and to Alberta businesses,” said Lukaszuk.
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