Fabio Hernandez

Fabio Hernandez

Minimum wage to rise by six bits

Minimum wage employees will be getting a happier paycheck this week.

Minimum wage employees will be getting a happier paycheck this week.

As of Nov. 1 the legal minimum wage in B.C. went up from $8.75 per hour to $9.50.

Non-hourly rates paid to camp leaders, live-in home support workers and resident caretakers will be adjusted at the same time in proportion to the increase in minimum wage.

The upgrade is the second part of a three-stage program by the provincial government to increase the legal minimum wage over the course of a year.

The first stage was an increase from $8 per hour to $8.75 earlier this year.

The third and final stage will be a further increase to $10.25, which is expected to take place by May 1, 2012.

The increases are designed to better reflect the rising cost of living and consumer products.

“When workers have more money in their pockets, they’re in a better position to support themselves and their families, and that’s good for the economy,” said Minister of Labour, Citizens’ Services and Open Government, Margaret MacDairmid.

“We also know that employers need to plan for the increases, which is why we have given considerable advance notice and we are raising the minimum wage in smaller increments.”

Fabio Hernandez is a minimum wage worker at Mo’s restaurant in Port Hardy.

He was understandably enthusiastic about the increase.

“It’s good to hear it’s going up, as a young teenager trying to earn a living it was tough,” said Hernandez.

“In a sense I think (raising the minimum raise) is a good thing,” said Port Hardy’s Home Hardware store manager, Elmer Albelhun.

The store manager said he doesn’t believe the extra wage will hurt his business.

“Everything is going up in cost, that cost is just going to be factored into our retail price,” he said.

Piece rates for hand-harvested crops listed in the employment standards regulation will remain unchanged pending the outcome of a review currently being undertaken by the Ministry of Labour, Citizens’ Services and Open Government.

The review is expected to be completed by the end of this year.