Minimum wage increase needed now, not next year: NDP

NDP Leader Lorraine Michael is criticizing the Newfoundland and Labrador government's decision to not increase the minimum wage until the fall of 2014.

Employers' council pleased increase isn't until 2014

NDP leader Lorraine Michael is disappointed with government's decision to delay a minimum wage increase until 2014. (CBC)

NDP Leader Lorraine Michael is criticizing the Newfoundland and Labrador government's decision to not increase the minimum wage until the fall of 2014.

On Friday, the provincial government said the minimum wage would increase by 25 cents per hour to $10.25 in the first year, and then again by another 25 cents per hour in 2015.

Michael said the workforce should not have to wait for the minimum wage to increase, considering that there hasn't been a hike in the last three years.

Michael said she is also disappointed that the government's decision ignores the advice of the minimum wage advisory committee, which the Progressive Conservative government appointed.

The advisory council called for a minimum wage increase this year.

"This government should be listening to the people whose expertise they recognized by putting them on this committee," Michael told CBC News.

Richard Alexander with the Employers' Council says given the 2014 deadline, employers have a chance to get ready for an increase to minimum wage. (CBC)
"Pay attention to the recommendations and put them in place. I'm extremely disappointed the message to people on minimum wage is that government doesn't care about them."

Employers, on the other hand are expressing relief.  

Richard Alexander, the executive director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Employers' Council, said he is pleased that there will no minimum wage increase this year.

"We think it is a recognition from government that employers have had to deal with a massive increase in minimum wage — 67 per cent in five years — and that has had negative impacts on the economy," Alexander said. 

Newfoundland and Labrador's minimum wage is scheduled to be reviewed again in 2015.

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