Recently, the Government of Alberta launched a study called; Speak. Share. Thrive. in which they want the public to discuss the guiding principles of the Social Policy Framework, especially at this relates to Early Learning and Child Care. Alberta has the highest “Cost of Living” across Canada and Alberta enjoys the highest take home pay average in Canada and yet has the lowest minimum wage of all provinces. How does this relate to the Social Policy Framework of Alberta?
We can not look at the social and economic factors surrounding minimum wages without regard to the effect on children in families living at or below the poverty line in any society or province. The economic conditions in which they grow and develope are not of their making and yet they are hindered by economic circumstance in: social and cultural adaptation, education, opportunity, sport, and health. All these factors lead to social problems which they will have to meet and overcome as the reach maturity. Empirical evidence shows that most if not near all remain in the lower spectrum of the economic scale. Economics are only part of the hurdle facing children in low income families but, it is a major part and needs to be addressed. Minimum wage levels do play an important role in the economics of low income families.
Questions pertaining to minimum wage.
- What is the social responsibility of a government to set minimum wages at a liveable rate?
- Do families struggling to get by on low paying jobs place a greater burden on social services?
- Will the burden to social services be eased by raising the minimum wage?
- Does raising the minimum wage increase inflation?
- Do companies have an obligation to pay a liveable wage to all their employees?
- Does raising the minimum wage lower a companies profits?
- How does raising prices to compensate for higher minimum wages effect the community/province as a whole?
- Should the minimum wage be set by indexing to the Consumer Price Index?
- Does providing free child care services or other benefits for minimum wage earners justify a lower minimum wage?
- Do students require a higher minimum wage in order to help pay for schooling?
- Should some sectors of the work force be regulated at a lower minimum wage? ie. farm workers? restaurant workers? child care workers? homes for elderly workers? semi-retired workers? students? temporary foreign workers?
- Do employees who collect gratuities (tips) require the same minimum wage as employees who don’t?
- Is it discrimination to set a lower minimum wage for servers who receive gratuities?
- Is it proper for restaurants to include a gratuity as part of the bill?
- Does an employee working a secondary income to a well paid primary job holder require a sustainable living wage?
- How could the labor laws differentiate between those on secondary income and those who need a decent wage to provide for the family?
- Would it be fair to increase taxes for secondary income employees in an effort to make secondary incomes at the lower wage end mostly not worth holding the job and therefore provide greater opportunity for single earner families?
- If minimum wage is increased, should the requirements for social security and remaining on employment insurance be strengthened?