Can anyone live on $10 an hour?

Letters to the Editor (The Guardian)
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Lynn O’Neill prepares a sub at the Subway restaurant on University Avenue in Charlottetown. The Employment Standards Board has completed a review over the province’s minimum wage and sent its recommendations to cabinet.

Editor: Here we go again — new debate on raising the minimum wage. There will be much gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands as business owners try to tell their workers why it’s not a good idea to pay them more than $10 an hour.

In today’s Guardian (“Minimum wage recommendations going to cabinet”) we learn that the Employment Standards Board has completed a review over the province’s minimum wage and sent its recommendations to cabinet. The board won’t say if they recommend an increase or not.

And of course, we immediately hear the warning of Erin McGrath-Gaudet of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, who reminds us that an increase in minimum wage is bad for business but even worse for minimum wage earners who face possible shift reductions or even job cuts. She says, “If it’s something businesses can’t absorb through price increases, they usually have to cut through staffing.”

I remember listening to this discussion on CBC radio a few years back where a small business owner said if the province went ahead with a 25 cent per hour increase, she would be forced to close her store. Sorry, lady, but if you’re that close to the edge, it’s not just an increase in minimum wage that’s going to push you over.

Ms. McGrath-Gaudet has a good point when she says the Ghiz government needs to tie income tax rates to inflation, but come on, asking your workers to live on $10 an hour? Give me a break.

 Could you live on $10 an hour, Ms. McGrath-Gaudet?

Lloyd Kerry,

Charlottetown

Organizations: Employment Standards Board, Canadian Federation of Independent Business, CBC

Geographic location: Charlottetown

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