Quebec is increasing its minimum wage by $0.50 to $9.50 per hour, effective May 1, 2010.

Workers in the restaurant and bar industry will also see their minimum salaries rise by $0.25 per hour, to $8.25.

Labour Minister Sam Hamad announced the 5.5 per cent wage increase on Tuesday.

"It's very important for workers, because our government said we are going to encourage work," Hamad said at a news conference in Quebec City. "And encouraging work, it means that you have to be paid, well paid when you are working."

The change will mean an additional $1,000 per year in salary for Quebec's estimated 323,000 minimum-wage workers. About 60 per cent of Quebec minimum wage earners are women.

The 2010 minimum wage increase is the third one in the province in three years. The minimum wage was $7.30 per hour in 2003.

The 2010 increase will give Quebec the third-highest minimum wage in Canada, behind Ontario and Nunavut.