Thursday, May 30, 2013

Alberta's minimum wage to increase 2.1 per cent September 1

Government of Alberta press release

Alberta’s general minimum wage will increase by 2.1 per cent on September 1 representing an increase from $9.75 per hour to $9.95 per hour. There will be no change to the liquor server minimum wage, which will remain at $9.05 per hour.

“We know that only 1.8% of employees in Alberta earn minimum wage and that this wage is an entry point into the job market,” said Human Services Minister Dave Hancock.  “After taxes Alberta’s minimum wage is the second highest among Canadian provinces and provides a good starting point for entering the workforce. From this starting point, we want to see these workers obtain the skills and experiences to advance their careers.”

The 20-cent increase to the general minimum wage is based on a formula initiated by government in 2011. The formula links possible increases to an average of the annual increases in Average Weekly Earnings (AWE) and the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in Alberta. In the past year, AWE rose 3.1 per cent in Alberta, while the CPI rose 1.1 per cent. The average of 2.1 per cent translates into a suggested increase of just over 20 cents per hour.

The liquor server minimum wage rate is unaffected by the new formula and will remain at $9.05 per hour until such time as the general minimum wage reaches $10.05 per hour. From then on, the two rates will increase in tandem while retaining a $1 per hour differential. Minimum wage for real estate, automotive, manufactured home and similar commission salespeople who are paid weekly will rise to $397. The minimum wage for live-in employees who are paid monthly, such as nannies, will rise to $1,893.  After personal exemptions and taxes are considered, Alberta’s new general minimum wage of $9.95 per hour will rank second among Canadian provinces.

A profile of Alberta minimum wage earners indicates that most of Alberta’s employees earn more than minimum wage.  Only 29,300, or 1.8 per cent, of Alberta employees between April 2012 and March 2013 earned minimum wage. Fifty-eight per cent of minimum wage workers in Alberta are 24 or under and a majority of minimum wage earners work in accommodation and food services.  Alberta has the lowest percentage of minimum wage earners among Canadian provinces. For more information please visit the Alberta Minimum Wage Profile.

Employers and employees with questions about minimum wages can contact the Employment Standards Contact Centre at 780-427-3731, or toll-free at 1-877-427-3731 or visit for more information.

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