News Release Archive

Changes to the province's minimum wage rules, aimed at protecting
lower-income workers, become effective tomorrow, Oct. 1.

The minimum wage will increase by 20 cents, bringing the current
rate of $5.15 up to $5.35. A 15-cent increase on February 1, 1997
will result in a minimum wage of $5.50.

The updated rules will also include employee groups who were
previously exempt, such as professionals, students in training
and domestic workers.

"This government is committed to protecting and helping Nova
Scotian workers," said Labour Minister Manning MacDonald. "Nova
Scotia has an excellent work force, and it is important that they
are treated fairly." Mr. MacDonald also noted the importance of
giving employers enough time and notice to adjust to the changes
-- which were originally announced last May.

Under the rule changes, minimum wage protection is now open to
domestic workers employed in private homes. Domestic workers
include people who perform housework, property maintenance, child
care, supervision, or services, including health or personal
care, for the comfort, safety or convenience of a member of the
household. Most other Canadian provinces already include domestic

Recognizing the need for part-time or emergency help, this
provision only applies to domestic employees who work more than
24 hours a week. Cooperative family arrangements will also be

Another change gives minimum wage protection to qualified
practitioners and students engaged in training for architecture,
dentistry, law, medicine, chiropody, optometry, pharmacy,
professional engineering, public or chartered accounting,
psychology, surveying and veterinary medicine. This move is
primarily aimed at helping students who are gaining work
experience, job training or professional designation.

"It's been over three years since the last minimum wage increase.
A lot has changed. Updating the rules helps Nova Scotians keep
pace with economic trends, as well as the norms in other Canadian
provinces." said Mr. MacDonald. Since the last increase, from
January 1993 to August 1996, there has been a 5.4 per cent
increase in the consumer price index.

More discussion is needed on the issue of a set minimum wage rate
for servers, said Mr. MacDonald. Employer associations within the
hospitality industry suggested a separate minimum wage for
employees who supplement their wages with tips. Under this
proposal, known as the tip-differential, the minimum wage for
servers would not change, and tips would account for any
subsequent increases in minimum wage. Currently, only Ontario and
Quebec have a tip-differential system.

"Implementing the tip-differential raises many questions. No
decisions will be made until there is more discussion with
employees and employers in the industry." said the minister. The
department will sit down with industry representatives to work
out a process for examining the issue.

Leading up to the minimum wage changes, there was an extensive
review involving input from employer and employee groups across
the province. The department received written submissions from
the Canadian and Nova Scotia Restaurant and Food Services
Association, the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour, the Canadian
Federation of Independent Business, employees in the hospitality
industry, and other groups and individuals.

Recently, other Atlantic provinces have announced increases in
their minimum wage rates. New Brunswick increased its wage to
$5.50 in July. Prince Edward Island will move to $5.40 in
September 1997, and Newfoundland will reach $5.25 by April 1997.


Contact: Jennifer MacIsaac  902-424-4680 or 902-424-3219

         Diane Manara       902-424-5797

EDITORS NOTE: A fact sheet is available by calling Communications
Nova Scotia, 902-424-4492 or 1-800-670-4357.

trp                Sept. 30, 1996 - 3:48 p.m.