Minimum wage hike draws concern

An Enderby business organization is raising concerns about the increase to B.C.’s minimum wage.

As of May 1, the minimum wage, which is currently $8 an hour, will rise to $8.75 May 1. On Nov. 1, will become $9.50 and then $10.25 May 1, 2012.

“The chamber polled its members on a minimum wage increase in 2010,” said Tate Bengston, Enderby Chamber of Commerce executive director.

“The majority of respondents recognized that a minimum wage increase needed to happen.  However, many expressed concern about a sharp and sudden increase. The minimum wage will increase by 28  per cent within little more than one year. As employees and employers use the minimum wage as a baseline, this also puts upward pressure on wages already in excess of the minimum wage.”

Bengston believes most of the businesses preferred either a phased-in, gradual schedule of increases or the establishment of a formula that linked regular minimum wage increases to a price index.

“Establishing a clear schedule or formula for frequency and size of increases would take politics out of the calculation and end wild swings in policy,” he said.

“Certainty and predictability are important for the success of business. These qualities enable business to hire, invest, set wages and prices, and enter into contracts effectively.  I am concerned about the speed with which this change will be implemented and its impact.”

The $6 an hour training wage is being scrapped as of May 1, 2011, while there will be a special minimum wage rate for people who serve alcohol.

The wage for liquor servers will be $8.50 an hour May 1, $8.75  Nov. 1 and $9 May 1, 2012.