Alberta to increase minimum wage to $9.40 on Sept. 1, booze servers to get less

EDMONTON - Alberta is raising its minimum wage, but too late for students working summer jobs who will be returning to school this fall.

The general minimum wage will rise 60 cents to $9.40 per hour on Sept. 1. But workers who serve alcohol will only get a 25 cent per hour raise.

Employment Minister Thomas Lukaszuk said the government wanted to ensure the raises are reasonable to employers and employees.

"We want to maintain the important balance between attracting people into entry-level positions and helping their employers remain competitive," he said Wednesday.

"Having a different minimum wage for liquor servers recognizes that these individuals earn a significant part of their incomes from tips."

The changes are expected to affect about 20,000 workers in Alberta.

The Alberta Federation of Labour has been calling on the government to raise the minimum to $12.20 to ensure people are earning a living wage.

"We believe that anyone who works full time, full year in our province should earn a wage that allows them to stay out of poverty," said Gil McGowan, president of the federation.

Alberta's new minimum wage rate is in the middle of the pack compared with other provinces and territories. Right now Alberta has the second lowest rate after British Columbia.

Global Regina, Thurs Jun 2 2011

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