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Some local businesses to keep paying current minimum wage despite decrease

Some Grande Prairie businesses say they don’t plan to pay their current younger employees less when the minimum wage decrease comes into effect. Premier Jason Kenney has announced plans to cut the youth minimum wage by $2 for those under 18 by the end of June.

Action Sportswear Manager Cole Belcourt plans to keep paying his current five younger employees $15 and will drop wages for new people who sign on after the change.

“I think everybody who is already working for us will not want to hear that they’re being wage cut so those people will be grandfathered in and we’re going to leave it the same. Anybody hired on after that decrease will be staring at minimum wage.”

Alberta had gradually hiked its minimum wage from one of the lowest in the country at $10.20 an hour in 2015 to the highest at $15 on October 1st, 2018 under the former NDP Government.

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The new decrease will apply to anyone under the age of 18 who is enrolled in school. When classes are in session, their first 28 hours of each week will be paid at the lower rate. Anything past that would be paid at $15. During breaks in the school year, all hours worked can be paid at $13.

Sprinkles Car wash and Laundromat plans to follow the same path as Belcourt for its five younger employees. Manager Shauna-Rae Winia says the staff that are with them now will stay at $15 and anyone hired later will start lower. She says that just works best for her business.

“We don’t have a very large turnover and I think that works best for us personally to keep them where they’re at. They won’t take a decrease in wage if they are currently here.”

In a release, Minister of Labour Jason Copping says he believes the cut will make it more affordable for businesses to hire younger workers. The decrease will come into effect on June 26th.

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