(Mar. 19/08) Alberta’s minimum wage will rise from $8.00/hour to $8.40/hour on April 1. The 5% increase comes on the heels of a 14% wage hike that took effect in September 2007.
In June 2007, the government announced that future minimum wage increases would be based on the average weekly wage. While this increase is intended to reflect average wage rates in the province, the reality is that many foodservice employers are struggling with severe labour shortages and already paying rates well above minimum wage.
CRFA believes the April 1 wage increase will have an inflationary effect on all foodservice wages – including those that exceed the minimum wage – and that rising labour costs will do little to solve the industry’s ongoing labour shortage. There is an estimated shortfall of 11,000 foodservice employees in Alberta.
CRFA is also disappointed that the government has once again passed up the opportunity to introduce a wage differential for tipped employees and students. By holding the minimum wage steady for students, who are gaining first-job experience, as well as for tipped employees, many of whom earn most of their income through gratuities, the province would have given employers more flexibility to target wage increases to back-of-house employees, who are more difficult to attract and retain.