New Brunswick

Lower minimum wage for tip earners possible

Labour Minister Martine Coulombe is still considering the possibility of lowering the minimum wage for workers who earn tips.

Labour Minister Martine Coulombe is still considering the possibility of lowering the minimum wage for workers who earn tips.

New Brunswick's minimum wage is set to increase to $10 per hour in September, but there has been a discussion about whether all workers should receive the full wage hike.

Coulombe does say the idea of reducing the minimum wage for employees who earn tips on the job is still being reviewed.

"As soon as we will be ready and we have studied every detail, we will bring out our decision," she said.

Coulombe would not say if the report's release could come before the end of the current sitting of the legislature, which is expected later this month.

There are other reforms that have been proposed for the minimum wage policy.

Some groups have suggested a two-tier system that would pay workers younger than 18 or trainees a lower wage.

Coulombe said the report from the minimum wage board does not support that change. The labour minister said that goes along with the government's position.

"It was not under consideration that we have a low wage for 18 years old and less and for training people," Coulombe said.

Liberal Donald Arseneault criticized Coloumbe for not consulting broadly enough on the potential change in the minimum wage policy on Wednesday in question period.

"All we are saying is that you have to consult with everybody. You are not consulting with everybody. You are only consulting with the employers’ side. You are not talking to the students," Arseneault said.

"You have not even looked at them and discussed their issues with them personally. That was what we used to do. We used to talk to individuals and to these stakeholders."

Finance Minister Blaine Higgs raised the possibility of a two-tiered minimum wage earlier this year during the pre-budget consultation tour.

Higgs suggested keeping the wage at $9 an hour for workers under 18 years old but going ahead with the increase for workers over 18.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business released a report in February that the minimum wage hike could cost as many as 7,000 jobs in New Brunswick because it will cost too much for small businesses to absorb.

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