TRI-CITIES CHAMBER REACTS TO MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE
(TRI-CITIES) May 6, 2016 – Wednesday, the Provincial Government announced a two-stage increase to the minimum wage to $11.25 by September 2017. While the government has promised certainty and predictability in the minimum wage by tying it to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), these increases are larger than expected. We expect this change to directly affect approximately 10 per cent of our membership employing people either full-time or part-time at minimum wage, based on a compensation survey that was sent out in Fall 2015.
However, the Province has also announced an initiative to reduce the burden of this increase on small business through a 40 per cent reduction in the small business tax rate by 2017-18. This is an encouraging development that will help mitigate the impact of an increased minimum wage. A successful small business is expected to be able to leverage this tax relief to offset the cost of increasing wages for six or seven staff impacted by the first stage of the minimum wage increase.
“The minimum wage is a complex and sensitive issue, especially for small businesses,” says Gillian Kirk, Chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors. “As a policy lever, it aims to address complex issues such as the standard of living for low wage earners and worker exploitation. To be effective, there must also be other actions taken to increase livability in our community—investments in public transit, such as the Evergreen Line, for example.”
“The Tri-Cities Chamber is supportive of predictable increases in the minimum wage tied to the CPI,” says Michael Hind, Tri-Cities Chamber CEO. “However, Wednesday’s announcement is an increase in excess of
the expected CPI-based rise. In tandem with the tax relief aimed at small business, the Chamber does not believe that the increase is unreasonable. But, we are vigilant against further unexpected, substantial increases to the minimum wage that does not provide adequate support for the Tri-Cities business community to adapt to the change.”
The Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce is a membership based proactive network of business-minded individuals that are committed to acting as an accessible, visible, supportive and reciprocal resource to our members and the Tri-Cities at large, communicating their collective voice to help shape a prosperous business community.
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