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What you need to know about Sask’s minimum wage

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On October 1, 2018, Saskatchewan’s minimum wage increased to $11.06 an hour, from $10.96 an hour. The increase is calculated using an indexation formula that has been used since 2011.

Here’s what we know about minimum wage.

Most businesses already pay above minimum wage The majority of you already pay well above the minimum wage, as you weigh the education, experience and skills of their employees against your ability to pay.

Majority of minimum wage earners are 15-24 years old Currently, over 60% of minimum wage workers in Canada are between the ages of 15 and 24. Our research has shown that as minimum wage rises, these young workers become the most vulnerable group in the economy. Often, as their wage costs increase, you tell us you will choose to hire fewer youth or hire more experienced adult workers, instead of younger workers, at the same rate.

Some sectors hit harder An annual increase in the minimum wage hits the retail and hospitality sectors the hardest. We opposed automatically tying Saskatchewan’s minimum wage to any economic indicator, as it assumes affordability every year and does not reflect current market conditions. For example, a restaurant owner with 25 employees will now see their labour costs increase by approximately $12,480.

What are we doing to fight for your business?

Pushing for measures to mitigate impact We will continue to call on the Saskatchewan government to introduce measures to mitigate the impact of the annually indexed minimum wage by introducing a training wage (for inexperienced workers) or a gratuity wage (for workers who earn tips).

Fighting a $15 minimum wage We are concerned that groups like the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL) continue to call for a rapid increase to the province’s minimum wage to $15 per hour — which would be a 37% increase.

A job killer for Sask’s youth While hiking the minimum wage may sound like a good idea, the evidence shows that it’s a job killer. Using 2016 Labour Force Survey data, our report examined the effects of a $15 minimum wage in each province. In Saskatchewan, a $15 minimum wage would disproportionately hurt young workers, potentially resulting in between 7,500 and 17,000 youth job losses.

Setting minimum wage is always a challenging issue for any government. We’re pleased he Saskatchewan government has resisted the temptation to follow Alberta and Ontario by raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour.

Better ways to help low-income earners Minimum wage is a blunt tool to address poverty and help low-income earners. That’s why we will continue to push for more practical and effective ways, like further reducing income taxes and helping low-income workers upgrade their skills.