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In order to prevent employers from underpaying workers, Canada established a minimum wage regulation. Dating back to the early twentieth century, each province and territory is in charge of setting a minimum wage, or the lowest amount an employer can pay. It helps ensure that workers are able to meet the standard cost of living. In the Yukon, because the labour market is limited, only a small section of the workforce was making $15 per hour or less. Though it represents only seven percent of the working population, minimum wage remains a relevant topic.
The bulk of minimum wage earners is represented by young workers (students and teens). By using demographic data to analyze living situations, Yukon determined the new minimum wage. Marking a small uptick in minimum wage, it represents best efforts to maximize available jobs and wages simultaneously.
Though there was an economic evaluation completed by the Department of Finance planning to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2021, the actual changes fell short. Originally positioned as a three-step plan, the idea was to go from $11.51 per hour in 2018 to the full $15.
While the difference isn’t as substantial, the minimum wage did increase to $13.85 per hour on April 01, 2021. The raise accounts for the one percent increase, determined by changes to the 2020 Consumer Price Index in Whitehorse. But on August 01, 2021, the minimum wage did increase to $15.20.
The minimum wage applies to many workers in Yukon, but not all. Exceptions to the Employment Standards Act include government contracts, union employees, and otherwise regulated staff. Additionally, workers in sectors falling under federal guidelines (banks, trucking, post office, etc.) are also exempt. Everyone else, hourly and yearly workers alike fall under this legislation. Designed as a starting point, gradual increases pursuant to the fair wage schedule are required. So, while the $15.20 is a fixed figure for staff commencing work, over time, the wage does increase over time.
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Minimum wage is meant to keep up with the time, increasing in tandem with inflation. The idea is to find a wage that can support the cost of living, a metric that changes with time. The Yukon Territory has adapted its wage to accommodate the ever-changing economy.
|Date Minimum Wage Was In Effective||Hourly Minimum Wage Rate|
|April 01, 2012||$9.27|
|April 01, 2013||$10.30|
|April 01, 2014||$10.54|
|April 01, 2015||$10.72|
|April 01, 2016||$10.86|
|April 01, 2017||$11.07|
|April 01, 2018||$11.32|
|April 01, 2019||$11.51|
|April 01, 2020||$12.71|
|April 01, 2021||$13.85|
|August 01, 2021||$15.20|
Though many workers, hourly and yearly alike, are subject to the minimum wage regulations, there are exceptions. Depending on your sector and work agreement, your payscale may differ. Since all work is subject to the Fair Wage Schedule, understanding where you fit is key to defending your rights as a worker.
There are four categories of this schedule, with the lion’s share of the work in these areas being contracted through the government.
When you are not deemed as a regular employee, for instance, freelance contracting, you are not entitled to a minimum wage in the regular sense. As a result, it is the onus of the worker to hash out an agreement that works practically for both parties. The amount you get must equal the minimum wage equivalent for the time taken on the task.
In piecework, the individual completing the projects effectively operates as its own business. A business is not entitled to a minimum wage, and neither is a worker making money in this manner. If this applies to you, be sure to take your time in negotiations to ensure that you are at least making the equivalent of minimum wage, especially since time is such an important factor.
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Depending on your situation, you may be classed as a commission worker. There are minimum wage jobs, such as entry-level sales, where you can work against commission. This means that you will make at least minimum wage, but if your commission exceeds that amount, you get the commission instead.
Other commission situations include being a contractor for a business, earning money for each sale you make. A realtor makes a great example. The work isn’t necessarily steady, but the bulk commission should bridge that gap.
Given the nature of the work, many commission workers aren’t subject to the minimum wage regulations. That said, if commission works out to less than the minimum wage hourly equivalent, the employer must pay the difference.
Taxi drivers are in a unique situation, especially when it comes to overtime. In short, they receive minimum wage, paid hourly for regular hours. When that exceeds the week’s expectations, the driver moves into overtime pay. At 150% of minimum wage, all subsequent hours for the pay period are payed at this rate. The employer is responsible for paying this amount; and, if there is a difference between the actual amount owed and amount paid, the employee is entitled to those funds.
If you’re a federal worker in Canada, including Yukon, you are entitled to earn the federal minimum wage which is currently set at $15 but will be increasing to $15.55 on April 01, 2022. If the provincial minimum wage is higher than the federal minimum wage, you will receive the higher of the two. This minimum wage applies to workers who are federally regulated by the government, such as interprovincial transportation employees, bank employees, postal service workers, and those who work for federal Crown corporations.
Entirely exempt from these regulations, there is no entitlement to a minimum wage for those in this role. It allows the sitter to negotiate a rate, though does not guarantee that amount. However, since sitting can have multiple clients concurrently, the exception makes sense. Consider ten hours at $13.85, the minimum wage would equal gross earnings of $138.50, but those would be the only earnings.
Since a sitter can hypothetically watch more than one client simultaneously, they can instead charge less and make more. The alternative could be charging each client $50 for that same ten hours. Watching three clients would result in a gross pay of $150. It allows those paying for a sitter to save and still enables the worker to earn more.
The overtime rate is time and a half in the Yukon, equalling $22.8 per overtime hour. The regular work week extends to 40 hours, with a limit of eight hours per day. Any time worked beyond this amount is subject to overtime pay.
Overtime also applies to holidays where the employee is entitled to time off. The calculation for overtime requirements for a week with a holiday is reduced proportionately to the time the holiday takes. Overtime calculations do not include any hours the employee works on that general holiday.
In short, if you are a full-time worker who worked overtime pursuant to either a daily or weekly metric, you are entitled to time-and-a-half pay for those hours.
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Applying to businesses that keep running on Sundays and public holidays, there are standards set for worker entitlement to pay. Each employee is entitled to a holiday with pay for any general holiday occurring during their employment. However, if the holiday falls on a day where the worker would not be scheduled, they are not entitled to that pay. For instance, if you regularly have Friday off, and the holiday is on that day, no amount is owing from the employer.
There are set regulations for how wages are calculated for the holiday period. If wages are hourly, and the employer is not working on the holiday, they earn the wage equivalent to their normal hours. If wages are calculated in any other way than daily or hourly, the amount owing is the daily average pay.
While the above applies to those working full-time, employees who work for fewer hours than the 40 standard are still covered under these regulations. In this case, when the employee doesn’t work on the holiday, they are entitled to ten percent of the worker’s wages for the preceding two weeks.
Calculated in a straightforward manner, if you work on a holiday, you are entitled to overtime for all hours worked. Alternatively, the employer and employee can agree on a day in lieu. Basically, the worker does the holiday shift at regular pay. In return, the worker gets a day off, adding to the annual vacation total.
Even if you are making minimum wage, and are likely to get a tax return, there will still be deductions on your pay cheque. The employee is entitled to a clear pay stub, noting the pay period, hours worked, wages paid, deductions, and net paid amount. Only certain deductions are allowed by law. Most of the deductions are fairly standard, though there may be extras based on the situation. Allowable deductions include:
There are deductions which an employer is not allowed to make. None of the following are legal paycheque deductions:
It is the responsibility of your employer to supply you with a pay stub that details itemized deductions. Check your pay stub to ensure that you were paid the correct amount. This way, if there are any issues, you can rectify them immediately.
Understanding the Yukon’s minimum wage regulations is an important part of learning the territory’s economic climate. It has been steadily climbing, showcasing the rising cost of living. By understanding your entitlements as a worker, you can better advocate for your rights. Whether in terms of deductions or overtime pay, learning these details lets you know exactly where you stand as an employee.
Even if you aren’t an hourly worker, the standards set forth by the minimum wage regulation apply as baseline standards of pay. The Yukon positions itself as an affordable place to live, where the minimum wage is sufficient to meet necessary costs. As long as you know what to expect from your pay, there are no surprises and you can make an accurate budget and plan for future success.
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