Raises coming for liquor servers and other alternate minimum wage earners

Harry Bains

WORKERS who earn an alternate minimum wage – including liquor servers, piece-rate farm workers, resident caretakers and live-in camp leaders – will soon see a pay raise, Minister of Labour Harry Bains announced on Thursday.

“No one working for minimum wage, full-time, year-round should be living in poverty,” said Bains. “Workers deserve a minimum level of protection so that, regardless of a person’s job description, they don’t earn a wage that is distinctly less than the general minimum wage.”

Based on recommendations from the Fair Wages Commission, the Government of British Columbia is eliminating the liquor server wage by 2021, and gradually increasing the wages for specific groups of workers who do not earn the general hourly rate. Liquor servers, resident caretakers and live-in camp leaders will all see wage increases, as of June 1,  while farm workers paid by piece rate will see an increase as of January 1, 2019.

Agriculture Minister Lana Popham said government is extending the transition period for changes to farm worker piece rates to January 2019, from June 2018, in order to better balance the needs of workers and the agriculture industry.

“This is a critical industry for B.C. and we want to make sure any changes made help give it the strong, sustainable future it deserves,” said Popham. “We believe everyone who contributes to this industry should have their say as we move toward making wages fair and life more affordable for farm workers.”

Wages for the five worker groups currently subject to alternate minimum wage rates will change as follows:

* Liquor servers – incremental increases on June 1 each year, beginning June 2018, until the general minimum wage is reached, of at least $15.20 per hour, in 2021.

* Piece-rate farm workers – 11.5% increase to all piece rates on Jan. 1, 2019, with further study to take place.

* Resident caretakers – 11.5% increase June 2018, followed by increases of 9.5%, 5.4% and 4.1% in 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively (wages vary depending on building size).

* Live-in camp leaders – same per cent increases as resident caretakers, until they reach $121.65/per day, in 2021.

* Live-in home-support workers – abolishment of the alternate minimum wage for this group, as it covers very few or no workers. The general minimum wage will apply to any workers remaining in this category.

The Fair Wages Commission second report with recommendations can be found at: