There is always a lot of controversy when the government announces their intentions to increase minimum wage, especially among small business owners. In Nova Scotia, the minimum hourly wage is currently $8.60. Under current plans, the minimum hourly wage will increase to $9.20 on 1 April 2010 and to $9.65 on 1 October 2010.
For employers an increase in the minimum hourly wage has a ripple affect across their bottom line.
- The employer must remit $4.95 for every $100.00 of payroll as its share of Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions to a maximum of $2118.60 for a maximum insurable level of $46,300.
- Worker’s Compensation (WCB) premiums are also based on payroll and range from a low of $0.46 per $100.00 to more than $10.00 per $100.00 of payroll depending on the industry to a maximum insurable level of $49,400. (For restaurants, the industry rate is $1.73.)
- The employer must also pay Employment Insurance that is equivalent to $2.42 for every $100.00 of payroll to a maximum of $1024.51 for a maximum insurable level of $42,300.
- In addition, the employer must set aside 4% of gross wages for vacation pay.
What does this all mean? Well, raising the minimum wage by $1.05 per hour will cost for each employee working 40 hours per week in a restaurant:
$2184 in extra wages
$108.10 in additional CPP premiums
$52.85 in additional EI premiums
$87.36 in additional vacation pay
$37.78 in WCB premiums
Benefit payments that are tied to wages will also increase. For example, life insurance coverage is a function of wages earned. Increased wages means higher life insurance coverage and, concomitantly, higher life insurance premiums.
Then there is the question of internal equity. A raise in the entry level wage will put upward pressure on existing wages. The fact is that tenured and high performing employees demand to be paid more than the new or entry level employee.
The following table provides a comparison with other provinces and territories.
|Jurisdiction||Min Hourly Wage||Remarks|
|Manitoba||$8.75||$9.00 on 1 Oct 2010|
|Ontario||$9.50||$10.25 on 31 March 2010|
|New Brunswick||$8.00||$8.25 on 1 Sep 2010|
|PEI||$8.20||$8.40 on 1 0ct 2009|
|NFLD||$9.00||$9.50 on 1 Jan 2010 and $10.00 on 1 July 2010|
|Nova Scotia||$8.60||$9.20 on 1 April 2010 and $9.65 on 1 Oct 2010|
|Yukon||$8.89||Annual increase on 1 April tied to CPI in Whitehorse|
It should be noted that there are variances in minimum wage strategies between Provinces. For example, in British Columbia the minimum hourly wage is $6.00 for the first 500 hours for an employee who has 500 or fewer hours of cumulative paid employment experience with one or more employers. In Quebec, the minimum hourly wage for employees who receive tips is $8.00 while in Ontario, the minimum hourly wage for liquor servers is $8.25. Some provinces have a minimum piece rate for farm workers, or a minimum daily rate for hunting and fishing guides. Employers must be aware of the minimum wage regulations in their jurisdiction.
Give us your opinion and answer this week’s poll question: