5 Thing to Know About the Minimum Wage Increase

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On May 1st, tens of thousands of workers received a $1 increase in their hourly wage following the minimum wage increase announced by the government of Quebec.

Every year, the Quebec government determines by how much minimum wage will increase. This year, the minimum wage was increased to $15.25 per hour. This means workers who were already paid minimum wage and who work 40 hours a week will earn an additional $2080 per year before taxes.

But some of the rules about minimum wage are less well known. Here is an overview of the different types of earnings and the increases that apply in each case.

1. Workers who get tips

Tips are not included when calculating minimum wage. Employers must pay employees the minimum wage set by law and the tips earned are added on top of that amount. The minimum wage is therefore lower for this category of workers: $12.20 per hour as of May 1st, 2023.

An employee is considered a “tip employee” if they regularly get tips from clients and work in a restaurant, bar, hotel, etc.

2. Berry Pickers

Starting May 1st, 2023, workers who pick raspberries or strawberries by hand are entitled to $4.53 per kilo (raspberries) and $1.21 per kilo (strawberries).

But if field or fruit conditions reduce how many berries workers can pick, they must receive the standard minimum wage at the very least.

3. Employees not entitled to minimum wage

Minimum wage rules don’t apply to some employees, such as interns in professional training programs. 

Also, some workers are not covered by the Act respecting labour standards. This means that minimum wage rules don’t apply to them either.

4. Employees earning a weekly salary

Some employees are paid a fixed amount each week no matter how many hours they work. These workers are also entitled to minimum wage.

For example, if you’re paid $400 a week, divide this amount by the number of hours you work each week to make sure your hourly rate is equal to or higher than the minimum wage.

If you work more hours than your normal work week, you might benefit from rules that apply to overtime work.

5. Employees on commission

Most employees who work on commission are entitled to the standard minimum wage.

Uniforms and benefits

Sometimes, an employer requires staff to wear a uniform, such as a white shirt and black pants in a restaurant. The uniform must be provided free of charge by the employer if employees are paid minimum wage. If they earn more than minimum wage, the cost of the uniform should not reduce their salary below the minimum wage. Important! In this case, tips are included in the calculation.

Furthermore, benefits with a monetary value are not included in calculating the minimum wage. Do you have a company car? A company cellphone? Your employer must still pay you the minimum wage regardless of the value of these benefits.