Saving a little money is a ubiquitous New Year’s resolution.
For around 9 per cent of Ontario workers, that goal is now a little bit easier.
Starting yesterday, January 1st, minimum wage in Ontario stands at $14 an hour. The increase is part of the province’s Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, which was passed in November and will see Ontario’s minimum wage increase again in January of 2019 to $15/hour. Ontario’s minimum wage was $11.60 just a few days ago.
At the previous rate, minimum wage earners working full-time for 40 hours a week would take home around $23,700. At $14/hour, their annual income stands at around $31,200 a year.
The change will affect mostly those working in retail, food, and accommodation, which comprise almost 50 per cent of all minimum wage earners.
“We on this side of the House think it’s time for those people to have an increase in their pay,” said Labour Minister Kevin Flynn in promoting the Act in November. “They’re trying to raise families. They’re trying to buy groceries. They’re trying to buy shoes for their kids. They’re trying to pay their rent.” The Conservatives, meanwhile, who could be elected this June, would scale back the wage increases. They’ve proposed raising minimum wage 25 per cent annually, which means it would reach $15 an hour three years later in 2022.
The minimum wage increase is far from the only benefit workers now receive as part of the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act. As of yesterday, the following provisions also kick in:
- – Casual, part-time, temporary and seasonal employees being paid equally to full-time employees when performing substantially the same job for the same employer
– Domestic or sexual violence leave that permits workers (or their children) threatened with domestic or sexual violence up to 17 weeks off without the fear of losing their job
- – New child death leave from any cause up to 104 weeks; crime-related disappearance of a child leave from up to 104 weeks
- – Significant improvements to scheduling requirements
- – Employees holding more than one position with an employer and who are working overtime being paid at the rate for the position they are working at during the overtime period.
- – Employees being entitled to three weeks of paid vacation after five years of service with the same employer