Minimum Wage

Minimum Wage

Worker that is getting paid minimum wage at a coffee shop.
Worker that is getting paid minimum wage at a coffee shop.

Business owners have a major change coming their way with the minimum wage increase in Alberta, and there are a lot of controversial opinions on this matter.

In September of this year, it became official that minimum wage will increase to $15 an hour by October of the year 2018.

With this sudden increase, business owners will have to make many changes in order to meet the cost of labour.

“Business and industry groups and opposition critics have been urging Notley’s government to rethink the hike or at least further investigate its implications on the economy before acting,” said in a Global News article by Dean Bennett.

Louise Zanussi, who is a small business owner, owns a shop called Café Millennium in Red Deer, Alberta, which is a café and catering restaurant. She has been in business for 14 years and currently has eight employees.

In a face to face interview, Zanussi said, “The way I think of this is that when I hire a new staff member at $15 an hour, now I will have to increase the rest of my staff’s wage because if I have someone working with me for five or six years, how can I expect them to work for the same amount of money as that person I just hired?’

Zanussi does not believe that the increase in minimum wage is going to benefit Alberta at all because businesses are going to increase their prices and cut the employees hours back greatly.

It is also going to be more expensive to buy food so whatever increase the employees have got, they are going to spend more money in the long run because prices have gone up.

Zanussi also said that customer service will also decrease because the businesses won’t have the extra staff to be able to do everything that the business needs to do in order to satisfy the customers.

In the future, when the minimum wage does increase to $15 an hour, Zanussi said that she is going to have to increase the prices of her products and might even have her staff work less hours because it will cost too much to have them working as much as they are now.

Zanussi’s main concern is for young people, because there is a lot of kids out there, 14 to 16 years of age, that will be expecting $15 an hour, and that is a lot of money for young people.

If they are making that kind of money, these kids might not feel the need to attend post-secondary education because it will be hard for these kids to go from making a lot of money then to be in debt from school.

Zanussi continues by saying that it is easier to have no money and then go to school and get money from your education after, then to have lots of money and then lose it all by attending school.

Caitlin McCulloch, a 17-year-old former minimum wage employee at a Shoppers Drug Mart also disapproved of the minimum wage increase.

She first noticed that her hours were getting cut because she wanted to work two to three six hour shifts a week and when the minimum wage started increasing, her shifts were cut.

She started to get only two shifts of four hours a week, causing her to get payed even less then she did before the minimum wage increase.

McCulloch decided to quit after she was then only given a couple of shifts for four weeks.

While working at shoppers, McCulloch also noticed the prices of items in the store rising, and she even got complaints from customers about these increases.

“With this increase, less people are going to be working because they can’t get a job or their hours are going to be cut,” said McCulloch in an interview over the phone. “It’s just unfair to everyone.”

McCulloch said at the end of her interview that it is not fair to the individuals that go to post-secondary to further their education and end up getting paid only five more dollars more than the people who work for minimum wage and have no education past high school.

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