Some post-secondary students in Alberta say they are concerned about the government’s plan to lower the minimum wage for young workers between the ages of 13 to 17.
The United Conservative government’s proposed bill, if passed, will reduce minimum wage for youth to $13 an hour from $15 an hour. The cut is supposed to give youth increased employment opportunities by giving them an edge over other potential candidates.
“It will create a competitive advantage for a high school student over perhaps their university counterpart,” said Trevor Lewington, CEO of Economic Development Lethbridge.
“They now can be offered a more competitive wage, which perhaps is an incentive for employers to go that direction.”
This is concerning for some post-secondary students who fall just outside of that age range, like University of Lethbridge student Kyle Angerili.
Angerili just landed a part-time summer job after three weeks of hunting and applying to 15 jobs. He said he’s worried the process of getting a summer job may become even more difficult if the bill passes.
“Making it more competitive definitely worries me for paying rent, food and other amenities that I need.”
But Lewington said the bill doesn’t necessarily mean university students will be out of summer jobs.
The bill also proposes changes to overtime, holiday pay and votes for union certification. If it passes, cuts to youth minimum wage would take effect on June 26.