Minimum wage raises coming for servers, farm workers and more
Published Thursday, April 19, 2018 12:06PM PDT
The province is giving a raise to full-time workers who earn an alternate type of minimum wage.
Labour Minister Harry Bains announced Thursday that liquor servers, piece-rate farm workers, resident caretakers and live-in camp leaders will be getting a pay boost.
Servers who work in B.C. bars and restaurants with alcohol on the menu currently earn a wage of $10.10 an hour, more than $1 an hour less than those in other types of minimum-wage jobs, including kitchen workers and hosts in the same restaurants.
Those with a job description that does not include the serving of alcohol also earn the general minimum wage. The system was brought in in 2011, the argument being that restaurants had suffered during the recession and with changes to the liquor laws.
Now, the economy is stronger and the increase is sustainable, Bains said at a news conference. He said the decision was made following consultations with experts, restaurant owners and workers themselves.
However, the province intends to do away with the two-tiered system by 2021 by gradually increasing the liquor server wages. Starting June 1, the rest of the province's lowest earners will see their hourly rate go up to $12.65. On the same day, liquor servers will see their wages increased, though the province has not said by how much.
The raises are part of the province's plan to reach a minimum wage of $15.20 an hour in three years.
Also in June, resident caretakers and live-in camp leaders will get an 11.5 per cent increase in wages, followed by increases of 9.5 per cent in 2019, 5.4 per cent in 2020 and 4.1 per cent in 2021. Caretakers were previously earning $681 per month plus $27.29 per suite in an apartment building containing between nine and 60 suites. Those working in buildings with more than 60 suites earned a flat rate of $2,319.65 a month.
The province also announced live-in home-support workers will no longer fall under the alternate minimum wage category, as it applies very few people. Those workers who did fall into the category were earning $113.50 per day or part day worked, but general minimum wage will apply going forward to anyone still earning the alternate rate.
And piece-rate farm workers – those paid to pick produce by the bin, pound, bunch or other measurement – will be getting an increase of 11.5 per cent on all existing rates starting in January. The province is extending the transition period for those workers to give employers in the agriculture industry time to adjust and finish the current harvest season.
"This is a critical industry for B.C. and we want to make sure any changes made help give it the strong, sustainable future it deserves," Agriculture Minister Lana Popham said in a statement Thursday.
"We believe everyone who contributes to this industry should have their say as we move toward making wages fair and life more affordable for farm workers."
Current rates for hand-harvested crops include $18.89 per 0.767-cubic-metre bin of apples, $0.438 per pound of blueberries, and $0.152 per 10 stems of daffodils. A full break-down of rates is available on the province's minimum wage fact sheet.