EDMONTON - The Government of Alberta is introducing a new differential minimum wage for workers under the age of 18, cutting youth wages from $15 to $13 per hour. This discriminatory decision will hurt youth who should be receiving equal work for equal pay, and also hurt other workers in low wage sectors.
“These changes will create a perverse incentive for employers to maximize profits by hiring youth instead of other workers because they can be paid less for doing the same work,” said Joel French, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta. “This is clear discrimination against a demographic of workers who are not even able to express their opinion at the ballot box.”
French explained that the policy will have a negative impact on employment levels of groups of adult workers.
“We can easily predict that this will cause a drop in employment for vulnerable groups of adult low wage earners, who tend to be young adults, women, and people of colour,” said French. “These groups are already struggling in our economy, and the last thing they need is an attack on their employment.”
Public Interest Alberta’s annual Low Wage Report from October 2018 describes the demographics of low wage workers by gender and age, across Alberta and in seven specific regions. The data can be found at www.pialberta.org/lowwage2018.