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Wednesday, 01 June 2011 16:06

Alberta's minimum wage to increase in September

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Courtesy Government of Alberta

The earnings of 20,000 Albertans will rise September 1 when the province increases minimum wage and introduces a new wage for liquor servers.

The general minimum wage will rise from $8.80 per hour to $9.40 per hour.  A new minimum wage of $9.05 per hour will be introduced for workers who serve alcohol as part of their regular job, recognizing that these employees also earn tips.

The new minimum wage rates represent a 6.8 per cent increase for general workers and a 2.8 per cent increase for liquor servers, the first changes to minimum wage in Alberta since April 2009.

“While just over one per cent of employees earn minimum wage, we want to ensure that the minimum wage rate in Alberta is reasonable. We also want to maintain the important balance between attracting people into entry-level positions and helping their employers remain competitive,” said Thomas Lukaszuk, Minister of Employment and Immigration.

“Having a different minimum wage for liquor servers recognizes that these individuals earn a significant part of their income from tips. It will also give business owners greater flexibility in the way they pay other staff, such as cooks and dishwashers,” said Lukaszuk.

The minimum wage for liquor servers will remain at $9.05 per hour until the general minimum wage reaches $10.05 per hour. From that point on, both wage rates will increase and the $1 differential will be maintained.

Also beginning September 1, government will use a new formula as the basis for decisions about future increases to Alberta’s minimum wage.

The new formula will be a simple average of changes to Alberta’s annual average weekly earnings and changes to the Consumer Price Index in Alberta. The previous formula for determining changes was based on Alberta’s average weekly earnings only. Changes would occur September 1 of each year and would be announced with three months’ notice.

“This new approach to minimum wages gives clear direction and long-term stability to minimum wage earners, and to Alberta businesses,” Lukaszuk said.

Employers and employees with questions about minimum wage can contact the Employment Standards Contact Centre at 780-427-3731, or toll-free at 1-877-427-3731, or visit for more information.

The Alberta government is working to build a better Alberta by fostering economic growth, strengthening our health and education systems, investing in infrastructure, supporting safe and strong communities and ensuring a clean and healthy environment.

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