32.8 C
Cañada
Wednesday, July 24, 2024
Employee BenefitsBenefits Canada NewsStudent Minimum Wage in Ontario: 2024 Updates

Student Minimum Wage in Ontario: 2024 Updates

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Ontario has a separate minimum wage rate specifically for students under 18 years old who meet specific criteria. This student minimum wage aims to balance the needs of younger and less experienced workers with employer expectations.

Understanding their rights and obligations related to minimum wage is crucial for students entering the workforce while pursuing their education. This guide provides an in-depth look at Ontario’s student minimum wage, including key regulations, eligibility, upcoming changes, and helpful resources.

What is the Student Minimum Wage in Ontario?

Ontario’s Employment Standards Act mandates a general minimum wage for all employees. Additionally, there is a special minimum wage rate for students under 18 years old who meet specific conditions:

Student Minimum Wage Criteria in Ontario:

  • Under 18 years of age
  • Working 28 hours per week or less
  • Working during the school year or holidays

The current hourly rate for Ontario’s student minimum wage is $15.60 as of October 1, 2023. This represents a $1 per hour increase from the previous student rate of $14.60.

In comparison, Ontario’s general adult minimum wage is currently $16.55 per hour as of April 1, 2024. So, there is a $0.95 gap between the regular and student minimum wages.

Ontario Minimum Wage Rates:

Minimum Wage TypeHourly Rate
Regular (18+ years old)$16.55
Student (<18 years old)$15.60

Source: https://www.ontario.ca/document/your-guide-employment-standards-act-0/minimum-wage#section-4

Who Qualifies for the Student Minimum Wage in Ontario?

Who Qualifies for the Student Minimum Wage in Ontario
Who Qualifies for the Student Minimum Wage in Ontario

To be eligible for Ontario’s student minimum wage rate, employees must:

  • Be under 18 years of age
  • Work 28 hours per week or less when school is in session
  • Work during school holidays or breaks

While the Employment Standards Act does not define “student,” the student wage generally applies to individuals attending elementary, secondary, or post-secondary school.

However, it’s important to note that to qualify for the student minimum wage, the worker must be under 18 years old. Many first—and second-year college or university students over 18 would, therefore, receive the general adult minimum wage, not the student rate.

Additionally, employers are responsible for verifying student status and ensuring employees meet the student minimum wage eligibility criteria. They may request proof of enrolment from younger workers to confirm their student status.

What Happens If Students Work More Than 28 Hours Per Week?

A key requirement for Ontario’s minimum wage only applies to students working 28 hours per week or less.

If a student under 18 works more than 28 hours during a week when school is in session, they no longer qualify for the student minimum wage. Instead, they must be paid the general adult minimum wage for all hours worked that week.

The current general minimum wage in Ontario is $16.55 per hour, compared to the student rate of $15.60 per hour.

Therefore, if a student works 30 hours in a given week, they are entitled to the higher general minimum wage for those hours rather than the student wage. This remains true even if their total hours for the month divided by 4 weeks average 28 or less. Employers must pay the general rate for any specific week a student exceeds 28 hours.

Why Have a Separate Student Minimum Wage in Ontario?

Ontario introduced a particular sub-minimum wage for students under 18 to:

  • Help younger individuals enter the workforce and gain job experience
  • Balance the needs of younger, less experienced workers and employer expectations
  • Acknowledge students may not provide equal productivity or value as adult workers

The student minimum wage incentivizes employers to hire young, inexperienced employees. It also recognizes that students juggle other responsibilities like schoolwork. As a result, the student rate seeks to strike a fair balance for both students and employers.

However, this two-tiered system remains controversial. Critics argue it is unfair and limits the earnings of younger workers. Supporters counter that it expands job opportunities that might not otherwise exist without a lower student wage.

Rationale for Separate Student Minimum Wage in Ontario:

  • Help younger workers enter the job market.
  • Balance needs of less experienced employees and employers
  • Expand opportunities that may only exist with lower youth wages.

When do Students Get the General Adult Minimum Wage in Ontario?

There are certain situations where student workers in Ontario are entitled to the general adult minimum wage instead of the lower student rate:

  • In Ontario, individuals who turn 18 are legally considered adults. They qualify for the full general minimum wage regardless of student status or weekly hours.
  • Working over 28 hours per week: If a student under 18 exceeds 28 hours during a school week, they must receive the general minimum wage for all hours worked that specific week.
  • Not attending school: The student wage only applies to individuals attending elementary, secondary or post-secondary school or during school holidays. Non-students get the general minimum wage.

Scenarios Where Students Get the General Adult Minimum Wage:

  • Reaching 18 years old
  • Working over 28 weekly hours
  • Not attending school

Outside of these circumstances, students under 18 who work 28 hours or less per week when school is in session qualify for the student minimum wage rate.

Ontario Student Minimum Wage Set to Increase October 2024

Ontario Student Minimum Wage Set to Increase October 2024
Ontario Student Minimum Wage Set to Increase October 2024

Ontario’s minimum wage rates, including the student minimum wage, are reviewed annually and typically increased every October 1.

The student minimum wage recently rose to $15.60 per hour as of October 1, 2023. Before this raise, the student rate had been $14.60 per hour.

Additional scheduled increases for Ontario’s student minimum wage are:

  • October 1, 2024: Increase to $16.20 per hour
  • October 1, 2025: Increase to $16.50 per hour

These forthcoming raises will gradually increase the hourly pay rate for eligible student workers under 18 in Ontario. Employers should prepare for and comply with the updated student minimum wage requirements.

Upcoming Increases to Ontario’s Student Minimum Wage:

Effective DateNew Hourly Rate
October 1, 2024$16.20
October 1, 2025$16.50

Source: https://minimumwageontario.ca/student-minimum-wage-ontario/

Cases and Exemptions to the Student Minimum Wage in Ontario

While standard regulations apply to most students in Ontario, there are some exceptional cases and exemptions to note:

  • International students were previously exempt from weekly hour limits. However, as of May 2022, they now face the 28-hour cap and qualify for the student minimum wage if eligible based on age and actual hours worked.
  • Liquor servers under 18 who earn below the general minimum wage (after tips) get the adult server wage, not the student minimum wage.
  • Homeworkers paid per piece have no hour limits. Their equivalent hourly pay must satisfy minimum wage rules.
  • Family members and other narrow exemptions may not be subject to minimum wage regulations.

Students should consult the Ministry of Labour to confirm exceptional cases related to their circumstances. Employers also need to ensure proper handling of any applicable exemptions.

Key Takeaways on Student Minimum Wage in Ontario

To summarize key details on Ontario’s student minimum wage regulations:

  • A special wage rate applies to workers under 18 years old
  • The current student minimum wage is $15.60 per hour
  • Students must work 28 hours or less per week when school is in session
  • If students go over 28 hours, the general minimum wage applies
  • Upon turning 18, students get the general adult minimum wage
  • Increases to the student rate occur every October 1

Understanding both eligibility criteria and obligations is essential for employers and student workers. Proactively learning the specific regulations empowers both groups to ensure fair compensation practices.

Historical Increases to Ontario’s Student Minimum Wage

To understand how Ontario’s student minimum wage has progressed over time, here is a summary of historical hourly rate increases (Government of Ontario):

Historical Student Minimum Wage Rates in Ontario:

Effective DateNew RateIncrease
October 1, 2023$15.60$1.00
Jan 1, 2022$14.10$0.10
October 1, 2020$13.50$0.45

The table shows that Ontario’s student minimum wage has increased incrementally over the past several years. The most recent change was the $1 per hour raise to $15.60, implemented on October 1, 2023.

The Student Minimum Wage and Tuition Fees in Ontario

Some student advocates have highlighted the gap between minimum wage earnings and Ontario’s post-secondary tuition cost. For example:

  • The current average undergraduate tuition in Ontario is 8,190 Canadian dollars per year (Source, 2023)
  • A student working full-time at 28 hours per week over 16 weeks at the $15.60 minimum wage would earn $6,652 before deductions.
  • This means they would need to work full-time for over 26 weeks to pay the average tuition without accounting for living costs and other expenses.

Critics argue that this illustrates how minimum wage rates, even with incremental increases, are not keeping pace with students’ rising costs, making post-secondary education increasingly unaffordable.

However, proponents argue that minimum wage jobs are not intended to cover the total costs of tuition and living expenses independently. The student minimum wage aims to balance the needs of younger workers with employer capacities.

Nonetheless, the disparity between tuition, costs of living, and student earning power continues to be a point of concern and debate from a policy perspective.

Determining the Adequate Minimum Wage for Students

There are differing perspectives on how governments should determine appropriate minimum wage rates specifically for students:

Based on economic conditions and labour market factors:

  • Set student wages based on market conditions, employment rates and other economic indicators
  • Aim to maximize job opportunities for students by not mandating wages employers cannot afford

Based on living costs and financial needs:

  • Calculate student minimum wage based on tuition fees, rent, food and other expenses
  • Ensure students can afford basic costs of living and education on minimum wage income

Percentage of the general minimum wage:

  • Link student minimum wage to general minimum wage in Canada (e.g. 85% of adult rate)
  • It provides relative stability between the two and incremental increases

Based on productivity and value to the employer:

  • Set student wages according to perceived productivity, experience and value to the employer
  • Justifies lower student wages based on limited skills and shorter tenure

Each approach has merits and flaws, and there is no consensus on the ideal methodology. Governments must balance multiple factors when setting special wage rates for students.

The Bottom Line on Ontario’s Student Minimum Wage

For eligible students under 18 years old, Ontario’s special minimum wage rate seeks to balance their compensation with employer interests and expectations. Successfully navigating this nuanced two-tiered structure requires awareness and understanding from both student workers and businesses.

Proactively learning the regulations, exceptions, scheduled increases, and available resources allows both groups to ensure compliant and fair pay practices. Adhering to Ontario’s student wage guidelines enables companies to avoid issues while expanding opportunities. Informed students can better advocate for their rights and make the most of early work experiences while pursuing their education.

FAQs on Student Minimum Wage in Ontario

What is the current student minimum wage in Ontario?

As of October 1, 2023, the hourly rate for Ontario's student minimum wage is $15.60 for eligible workers under 18 years old.

How much below the general minimum wage is the student rate?

The general adult minimum wage in Ontario is currently $16.55 per hour, which is $0.95 more per hour than the $15.60 student minimum wage.

What are the eligibility criteria for the student minimum wage?

To qualify for the student minimum wage in Ontario, workers must be under 18 years old, work 28 hours or less per week when school is in session, and work during school holidays or breaks.

Can international students get the student minimum wage?

As of May 2022, international students in Ontario no longer have an exemption from the 28 hour per week cap. They must adhere to this limit and qualify for the student minimum wage if eligible based on age and actual hours worked.

What minimum wage applies to a 16 year old working full time in summer?

A 16 year old working over 28 hours per week during their summer break would receive the general adult minimum wage in Ontario, rather than the student wage, due to exceeding the weekly limit.

When do students get the full adult minimum wage?

In Ontario, students receive the general adult minimum wage upon turning 18 years old. They also earn this rate if they work over 28 hours while attending school or do not attend school.

Where can students learn more about their minimum wage rights?

Helpful resources include the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Ontario Federation of Labour, and other government sites outlining student minimum wage laws, eligibility, requirements and upcoming changes.

Is the student minimum wage enough to live on in Ontario?

Many argue that the student minimum wage does not provide enough income to independently cover tuition, living costs, and other expenses in Ontario, making it difficult to self-finance post-secondary education.

Can employers pay students less than minimum wage in Ontario?

No, employers cannot pay students less than the mandated minimum wage. There are strict rules around student wages and employers must adhere to them.

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.

Rate this post
- Advertisement -

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More article