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Employee BenefitsBenefits Canada NewsMinimum Wage in Yukon: 2024 Updates

Minimum Wage in Yukon: 2024 Updates

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Yukon currently has the highest minimum wage rate in Canada as of 2023. On April 1, 2024, Yukon increased its minimum wage to $17.59 per hour, up from $16.77 per hour in 2023.

This article will provide a comprehensive overview of the minimum wage in Yukon, including the current rate, historical increases, how rates are determined, who is covered, overtime and holiday pay requirements, exemptions, and arguments for and against raising the minimum wage. Comparisons will also be made to the living wage, calculating the pay rate needed to cover basic living costs.

Minimum Wage in Yukon 2024

Current Minimum Wage in Yukon
Current Minimum Wage in Yukon

As of April 1, 2024, the minimum wage in Yukon rose to $17.59 per hour, an increase of $0.82 from the previous rate of $16.77 per hour in 2023.

This latest increase in Yukon’s minimum wage is tied to the 2023 Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Whitehorse, which was 4.9%. Under current policy, Yukon’s minimum wage is adjusted annually based on the Whitehorse CPI to keep pace with inflation and rising living costs.

Source: https://yukon.ca/en/news/yukons-minimum-wage-increases-1759-hour

Over the past four years, Yukon has seen steady increases in its minimum wage:

Effective DateMinimum Wage
April 1, 2020$13.85 per hour
August 1, 2021$15.20 per hour
April 1, 2022$15.70 per hour
April 1, 2023$16.77 per hour
April 1, 2024$17.59 per hour

Source: https://moneygenius.ca/blog/yukon-minimum-wage

This represents a total increase of $3.74 per hour, or 27%, in Yukon’s minimum wage over four years.

How Minimum Wage is Determined in Yukon

The territory’s Employment Standards Act mandates Yukon’s minimum wage rate. This legislation gives the Yukon government authority to set the minimum hourly wage for employees.

Yukon’s minimum wage must be equivalent to the federal minimum by law. However, provinces and territories can set a higher rate if they choose.

From 1975 to 2015, minimum wage rates in Yukon were set based on recommendations from the Minimum Wage Board. This independent board reviewed factors like the cost of living, wages in other jurisdictions, and potential impact on the labour market.

In 2016, a new approach was introduced to adjust the minimum wage annually based on the CPI for Whitehorse. This change in methodology came about through an agreement between the Liberal and NDP caucuses, known as CASA.

Tying the minimum wage to CPI allows rates to keep pace with inflation and the rising cost of living in Yukon each year. The current government has maintained this indexing method.

Who is Covered by Minimum Wage in Yukon?

Who is Covered by Minimum Wage in Yukon
Who is Covered by Minimum Wage in Yukon

Yukon’s minimum wage legislation applies to most hourly employees in the territory. This includes:

  • Employees in retail, food service, childcare, healthcare, tour companies, and other sectors
  • Part-time, full-time, permanent, and casual hourly workers
  • Employees who earn tips and commissions in addition to hourly pay

However, there are some exceptions where minimum wage rules do not apply:

  • Government contract workers have an alternative pay scale with set rates for each category of work
  • Pay rates cover unionized employees in their collective agreement, which may differ from minimum wage
  • Federally regulated sectors like banking, transportation, and telecommunications
  • Other specially regulated industries or professions

Unless exempt, all hourly employees can earn at least the Yukon minimum wage. Salaried or commissioned employees who do not earn hourly wages are not subject to the same regulations.

Overtime Pay in Yukon

Beyond minimum wage, Yukon also mandates overtime pay standards:

  • Overtime Rate: 1.5 times the regular hourly wage
  • Daily Overtime: Over 8 hours per day
  • Weekly Overtime: Over 40 hours per week

For example, with the $17.59 minimum wage, the overtime rate is $26.39 per hour.

Holiday hours are not counted when calculating weekly overtime, and overtime rules do not apply to certain exempt employee categories, like taxi drivers.

Holiday Pay Requirements in Yukon

The Employment Standards Act establishes minimum holiday pay requirements in Yukon. Under the legislation, employees are entitled to take general holidays off with pay. General (statutory) holidays in Yukon include:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Good Friday
  • Victoria Day
  • National Indigenous Peoples Day
  • Canada Day
  • Discovery Day
  • Labour Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Remembrance Day
  • Christmas Day
  • Boxing Day

Employees who are given a general holiday off must receive holiday pay equivalent to their regular daily wages. For hourly employees, this equals their hourly rate multiplied by their regular hours.

Alternatively, the employee can work on the holiday and receive overtime pay of 1.5 times their regular wage. They can also receive regular daily pay for the holiday shift and an alternate day off later.

If they do not work on the holiday, part-time and irregularly scheduled employees are entitled to 10% of their wages from the previous pay period as holiday pay.

Exempt Categories of Workers in Yukon

While Yukon’s minimum wage legislation is far-reaching, some workers are fully or partially exempt:

Government Contract Employees

Instead of the standard minimum wage, government contract workers are covered by set rates under the Fair Wage Schedule:

CategoryHourly WageSample Roles
A$38.90Electricians, mechanics
B$34.87Roofing, drilling
C$30.93Truck drivers, cook’s helpers
D$28.07Labourers, security workers

Source: https://loanscanada.ca/minimum-wage/yukon/

Commission Workers

Commission-only employees are exempt from standard minimum wage rules. However, their commission earnings over a pay period must equal the minimum wage for hours worked.

For commission jobs with an hourly wage, the employee gets their hourly pay plus commissions, with hourly pay meeting minimum standards.

Piecework Employees

Individuals paid per unit for piecework/manufacturing do not have a standard minimum hourly wage. However, their piecework earnings cannot exceed the equivalent minimum wage for hours worked.

Taxi Drivers

Taxi drivers are protected by minimum wage for regular hours. However, special rules apply for overtime, and limits on daily hours do not apply since their hours are irregular.

Federally Regulated Industries

Employees in federal sectors like banking, telecoms, airports, and transportation are covered by the federal minimum wage rather than Yukon’s territorial minimum.

Babysitters

Babysitters hired informally are fully exempt from minimum wage laws in Yukon.

Arguments For and Against Minimum Wage in Yukon

There are longstanding debates around minimum wage laws’ merits and potential drawbacks. Some key arguments include:

Arguments For

  • Ensures a fair baseline pay to cover basic living expenses
  • Can help boost incomes for low-wage workers
  • May reduce poverty, though the evidence is mixed
  • Contributes to greater economic equality
  • Stimulates consumer spending when workers have more income

Arguments Against

  • Raises costs for employers, potentially forcing cuts in staff or hours
  • Could lead to job losses, though the evidence is again mixed
  • Not well targeted to families in need; many minimum wage earners are students
  • Higher prices for goods and services may cancel out gains for consumers
  • May encourage automation to replace workers

Overall, there are reasonable arguments on both sides of this issue regarding potential benefits versus unintended consequences. Policy experts and economists continue to debate the true impacts of minimum wage laws.

Yukon’s Current Minimum Wage Compared to Living Wage Rates

A living wage is distinct from the minimum wage, though the two concepts are often compared.

The living wage calculates the hourly pay rate needed for a household to cover basic expenses in their community. It aims to provide a decent standard of living, whereas the minimum wage merely sets a bare minimum floor.

Living wage rates are determined independently by research organizations. In Yukon, the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition publishes annual living wage estimates.

Their 2023 living wage for Whitehorse was $21.04 per hour based on the costs for a household with two working parents and two children. This is over $3 per hour higher than Yukon’s current minimum wage of $17.59. (Source)

According to a report, the living wage for a single working adult in Whitehorse was calculated to be $21.04 per hour in 2023, surpassing Yukon’s current minimum wage rate. (Source)

While the minimum wage in Yukon is the highest in Canada, it remains below living wage estimates. However, the government has achieved regular minimum wage hikes in recent years to help bridge this gap.

Conclusion

Yukon has taken meaningful steps to ensure its minimum wage keeps up with the rising cost of living in the territory. After years of infrequent increases, minimum wage rates are indexed annually to inflation.

However, debate continues about the fairness of minimum wage policy and its economic impacts. While rates are improving, some argue that Yukon’s minimum wage remains below an adequate living wage.

Going forward, the path ahead is likely to involve gradual minimum wage hikes indexed to inflation. However, finding the right balance between fair pay and economic stability will remain challenging.

Canada’s minimum wage is set at the provincial/territorial level by local governments. These local governments establish minimum wages that are tailored to their region, considering elements like typical incomes, living expenses, and economic health. As a result, the minimum wage in Canada can vary significantly between different provinces and territories at any given time.

What is the minimum wage in Yukon?

The minimum wage in Yukon is currently $17.59 per hour as of April 1, 2024.

How is Yukon's minimum wage determined?

Yukon's minimum wage is determined based on the annual Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Whitehorse. It is adjusted each year according to the CPI to keep pace with inflation.

How often does Yukon increase the minimum wage?

Yukon increases the minimum wage annually on April 1st based on the previous year's CPI for Whitehorse. The rate typically goes up slightly each year.

What was the minimum wage in Yukon in 2021?

In 2021, Yukon's minimum wage was increased to $15.20 per hour effective August 1st. Prior to that it was $13.85 per hour from April 2020.

Who is covered by the minimum wage in Yukon?

Most hourly employees in Yukon are covered by the minimum wage, with exceptions for government contracts, unionized employees, federally regulated workers, and informal babysitters.

What is the overtime pay rate in Yukon?

The overtime pay rate in Yukon is 1.5 times the regular hourly wage. Overtime applies after 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week.

Are Yukon workers entitled to holiday pay?

Yes, employees in Yukon are entitled to regular holiday pay for the 10 general (statutory) holidays. Regular daily wages must be paid for time off on a holiday.

Is Yukon's minimum wage the highest in Canada?

Yes, as of 2024 Yukon has the highest minimum wage in Canada at $17.59 per hour, slightly above Nunavut's rate.

How does minimum wage compare to a living wage in Yukon?

Yukon's minimum wage is lower than living wage estimates for the territory. The living wage for Whitehorse was calculated at $21.04 per hour in 2023.

What was Yukon's minimum wage in 2020?

The minimum wage in Yukon in 2020 was $13.85 per hour. It was increased to this rate on April 1, 2020.

Article Sources

At Ebsource, we adhere to strict editorial principles and reference only credible sources in all our content. This allows us to produce insights readers can trust when making important benefits decisions. For complete transparency, find links to the referenced sources below.

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