Dear Working Wise:
I hear that minimum wage is going up, but I am wondering if both minimum wages are increasing? I am a server in a lounge and sure would like a raise. Signed, Wondering Waitress
Alberta’s minimum wage is rising 3.5 per cent, from $9.40 to $9.75 per hour, beginning September 1. The liquor-server minimum wage of $9.05 per hour will remain unchanged.
The differential wage for alcohol servers will remain at $9.05 per hour until the general minimum wage reaches $10.05 per hour. From then on, both wage rates will increase and a $1 differential between the two wages will be maintained.
The separate minimum wage rate for alcohol servers recognizes that these employees earn tips.
Minimum wage increases take effect on September 1 of each year and are based on increases in average weekly earnings and the Consumer Price Index in Alberta.
Setting an annual date and indexing the minimum wage helps make the increases more predictable for both employers and employees.
It’s important to remember that these are minimum wage rates—many employers choose to pay their employees more to attract and retain good people.
In fact, less than two per cent of Alberta employees make minimum wage right now—the least in the country. Nearly half of minimum-wage earners are under 25 years old and many work in the accommodation and food-services industries.
Minimum wage is meant to give students and others new to the workforce a foothold in the world of work. It is about getting job experience, work skills, extra income and savings for further education and training.
Minimum wage is the minimum amount employers must pay workers in Alberta, but there are a few exceptions, including:
· farm or ranch workers;
· securities salespersons;
· real estate brokers;
· insurance salespeople;
· students in approved work-experience programs or training courses;
· counsellors/instructors at non-profit camps; and
· extras in film or video production.
The exemptions I have listed here are fairly general. Alberta’s Employment Standards also includes a minimum weekly wage of $376 for some salespersons and professionals and a minimum monthly minimum wage of $1,791 for domestic employees.
For a more information on Alberta’s minimum wage rates and exemptions, visit www.employment.alberta.ca/es.
Anyone interested in increasing their earning power can visit their nearest Alberta Works Centre and talk to a Career & Employment Consultant about upgrading their skills and finding a better-paying career.
To find the Alberta Works Centre near you, click http://employment.alberta.ca/offices.
Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Charles Strachey is a manager with Alberta Human Services. This article is provided for general information only.