Minimum wage going up next year

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Labour relations Minister Darin King announced this afternoon that the minimum wage will be going up next October, and it’ll be going up again in 2015.

Darin King. — Telegram file photo

Starting next October, the minimum wage will go up by 25 cents to $10.25 per hour. Then, a year later, it will go up to $10.50.

What the government is implementing is nowhere near what was recommended in the 2012 Minimum Wage Review.

In that report, the review committee noted that there’s been no increase in the minimum wage since 2010, and the cost of living in Newfoundland and Labrador has gone up by quite a bit since then.

As a result, the committee recommended a minimum wage increase in 2013, and future  minimum raises annually tied to the Consumer Price Index rate of inflation.

The government didn’t implement either of these recommendations.

Darin King, minister responsible for the Labour Relations Agency, said that they didn’t want to tack minimum wage to inflation because they didn’t want to tie the hands of future governments.

“We considered a number of factors,” he said “Obviously our primary goal is trying to strike a balance between what the employers can absorb and what’s good for the employees, and ultimately, that’s where we came down.”

But New Democrat Leader Lorraine Michael wasn’t happy; she said it’s interesting that the 2015 minimum wage increase will happen less than two weeks before the general election date in that year.

“The timing of the annual increase certainly is questionable,” she said. “I mean, to me government should be making the decisions based on what was recommended by the committee, and this is so far off what was recommended, it’s disturbing.”

King said that there’s nothing shady about the timing of the minimum wage increases, and he said that the government wasn’t trying to dodge criticism by sending out the news release after 4 p.m. on a Friday afternoon — typically a time reserved for bad news government announcements.

“It’s not bad news; it’s very good news in my opinion,” King said. “Frankly, Friday afternoon in this case is irrelevant. The fact of the matter is we’re going into the House of Assembly on Monday and I’m more than happy to stand and talk about this and debate it for as long as people want to debate it.”

Michael certainly seemed like she’ll take King up on the offer.

“The government has gone nowhere near what the recommendations were from the committee last year, so I’m really shocked how they are continuing to show how out of touch they are,” Michael said. “It just shows that they do not understand the needs of people who are working for $10 an hour.”

The government news release noted that by 2015, the province’s minimum wage will have gone up 75 per cent in the past 10 years. Only two jurisdictions have a minimum wage higher than $10.50 — Nunavut and the Yukon.

The Liberals did not respond to a request for comment as of deadline.

 jmcleod@thetelegram.com Twitter: TelegramJames

 

Organizations: Labour Relations Agency

Geographic location: Nunavut, Yukon

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Recent comments

  • ML
    December 16, 2013 - 01:05

    Minimum wage in Canada maybe just change it to Slave wage, who the heck can live on $10.25 hr no one can make a decent living on minimum wage, we may be poor but we work hard and we are Canadians we should not be deprived of a home and nutritional meals because we work for minimum wage. CANADIAN GOVERNMENT SHOULD STOP WASTING OUR TAX DOLLARS that would save us a load of money.

  • NL TURF
    November 01, 2013 - 22:56

    Darin can tell the masses about the 50 cent per hour, minimum wage increase over 2 years and still keep a straight face!!! Certainly there will be dancing in the streets tonight for sure!! Oh Joy oh Bliss!! Hell of a good thing the cost of living won't be going over 25 cents per year over the next two!! Amazed, amazed, yep, he said it with a straight face!! Glad to see the working poor is enjoying the benefits of this so called " HAVE PROVINCE"

    • Jackie Barrett
      November 02, 2013 - 13:08

      Darin King also thinks that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are fools in saying that our minimum wage will be Canada's third highest two years from now. Other provinces with much higher minimum wages than us such as British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and even Nova Scotia will likely be higher than us in 2 years time. For example, since Nova Scotia's minimum wage is linked to the low income cutoff and Consumer Price Index, it could increase from $10.30 per hour now to $10.75 per hour or even higher in 2015. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are smarter than you think, Mr. King, so don't mislead us.

  • Jackie Barrett
    November 01, 2013 - 21:47

    Even though the minimum wage is up, its substantially smaller than our "down under" brothers and sisters. Australia has the world's highest national minimum wage at CAD $16.78 or AUS $16.88 per hour, and New Zealand's minimum wage is CAD $11.80 or NZ $13.75 per hour, and this is no joke. At least nutritious foodstuffs in both countries are substantially cheaper than Canada, especially milk and poultry products.

    • david
      November 02, 2013 - 10:41

      With its young, highly skilled workforce, and its direct participation in the fastest growing regional economy on the face of the Earth, Australia has an ever-so-slightly more robust economy than Newfoundland.....just so you know. And Australia has increasingly and quite sensibly abandoned the entire trade union movement, while Newfoundland infects every new job-creating opportunity with its irrelevant, anti-productive poison.

  • melvena brake
    November 01, 2013 - 20:56

    It is poverty!!!! Nothing to sing about....

    • Elizabeth Hall
      November 03, 2013 - 00:26

      I agree with that it is poverty

  • david
    November 01, 2013 - 17:23

    A Wal Mart and Tim Hortons economy.....and THIS ---- arbitrarily raising the cost of an employee completely disconnected sand unrelated to any measure of productivity --- continues to be their genius, vote-pandering move. This place is so utterly and royally screwed.

  • Jackie Barrett
    November 01, 2013 - 17:16

    After learning about the planned minimum wage increases in 2014 and 2015 to $10.25 per hour and $10.50 per hour respectfully, this hike is definitely disgraceful. If you calculate the real wage based on 2010 levels, you'll notice that real minimum wage will still be below $10.00 per hour. In other words, $10.25 per hour in 2010 is worth just $9.47 per hour in 2014, and $10.50 per hour in 2010 is worth just $9.51 per hour in 2015 based on the Present Value Formula. This is no joke, to bring the minimum wage to $10.00 per hour based on 2010 levels, the 2014 and 2015 minimum wage should be at least $10.83 per hour and $11.04 per hour respectfully based on the Future Value Formula. In light of the minimum wages being set at below $10.00 per hour based on 2010 terms for 2014 and 2015, the Dunderdale Government should be ashamed of themselves for making life unaffordable for low wage Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. One reason why Dunderdale must be voted out in 2015.

  • Gerald Wade Smith
    November 01, 2013 - 17:02

    What a joke when the cost of living is at 18 dollars an hour. Poor will stay poor.

    • ML
      December 16, 2013 - 01:08

      Minimum wage in Canada maybe just change it to Slave wage, who the heck can live on $10.25 hr no one can make a decent living on minimum wage, we may be poor but we work hard and we are Canadians we should not be deprived of a home and nutritional meals because we work for minimum wage. CANADIAN GOVERNMENT SHOULD STOP WASTING OUR TAX DOLLARS that would save us a load of money.