Alberta will take the first step towards a $15 per hour minimum wage by 2018 with a $1 increase to $11.20 and a liquor server increase of $1.50 to $10.70 per hour, beginning Oct. 1.
The additional increase for liquor servers represents the first of two steps aimed at eliminating the differential in 2016.
“Alberta’s minimum wage is currently the lowest in the country, yet we have one of the highest costs of living,” said Premier Rachel Notley.
“We promised Albertans we would raise minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2018, and we will stick to that promise.
“We’re taking a significant step towards our goal for 2015 and will continue this path in future years.”
“We have listened closely to Albertans and have taken their views and suggestions into account,” said Lori Sigurdson, Minister of Jobs, Skills, Training, and Labour. “Our plan includes a $1 increase to the general minimum wage this year, plus a two-year phase out of the liquor server rate. We will continue to consult with stakeholders as we move forward on our goal over the next three years.”
Sue Tomney, Chief Executive Officer, YWCA of Calgary, said the increases mark an important step forward for wage equity for women in Alberta.
“Our vision is women thriving in a safe and equitable community,” she said.
“The government’s work to increase minimum wage to $15 by 2018 is a huge step forward in ensuring Alberta women are earning a wage that enables them to thrive and support their families.”
In order to qualify as a liquor server for the purpose of minimum wage under the Regulation, an employee must be serving liquor as part of his or her employment; other than on an infrequent or occasional basis; directly to customers, guests, members, or patrons; and in a licensed premise issued under the Gaming and Liquor Act.
Generally speaking, the liquor server minimum wage rate will apply to waiters, waitresses, bartenders, and other employees who as part of their jobs serve liquor directly to customers in bars, restaurants, clubs and other licensed premises. However, employees who rarely serve liquor are subject to the general minimum wage of $11.20 per hour.
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 work.alberta.ca/minimumwage.