Ontario minimum wage hikes devastate some business owners

编者按: 安省省长韦恩宣布计划在2019年1月1日将省最低工资提高到15元/小时。专栏作家Bob Mok为该政策对商业界的负面影响,以及这些负面影响如何波及整体经济提供了数据分析。
Editor's Note: Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has announced a plan to increase the provincial minimum wage to $15 an hour by Jan. 1, 2019. Through analytical lenses, columnist Bob Mok sheds light on the plans’ negative implications on the business community, as well as the cascading effects on the province’s economy.
This plan is piggybacking on proposed legislation on labour reforms - The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act. The Act aims to better protect part-time or contract workers, which also includes equal pay for part-time workers, increased vacation entitlements and expanded personal emergency leave.
该法案是根据早期发表的一份研究报告而提出的。这份报告根本就没有要求政府增加最低工资,但自由党政府还是抄袭了新民主党的竞选纲领, 提出增加最低工资。新民主党党魁贺华兹在2016年年初就公开承诺,她要把最低工资调到15/小时。

The Act is the product of a consultation report commissioned earlier. However, this report did not make any recommendations on Minimum wage increases at all. The Liberal government's proposed minimum wage increase is a plank stolen from the NDP's political platform. NDP party leader Andrea Horwath publicly committed to a $15 minimum wage in early 2016.
未来18个月内,最低工资将分两次上涨, 即2018年1月1日涨至14元,2019年1月上涨至15元。之后,最低工资每年将随通货膨胀率同步上涨,。加拿大统计局报告说,安省有9.2%的人或54万人挣的是最低工资。今年夏天, 安省将在各个地区举行公众听证会。但是很多人都认为,韦恩这是为了做秀。这个法规将在2018年6月7日的下一届大选之前在安省议会通过,成为法律。

The minimum wage increases would be phased in over the next 18 months, rising to $14 an hour on Jan 1, 2018, and then to $15 the following January. After that, it will rise annually with inflation. Statistics Canada reports that 9.2 percent of Ontario's people or 540,000 people earn minimum wages. Committee hearings will be held this summer throughout Ontario but many people have resigned to the fact that this is all for a show and the legislation will be rushed through the Ontario Parliament to become law prior to the next General Election on June 7, 2018.
最近, 我应邀参加了多伦多一家华人电台的座谈, 与其他客人一起讨论最低工资提案及其可能的影响。我的观点是,大家都把眼光盯在最低工资的上涨上,没有看到这个新法律对企业可能造成的危害。

I was invited recently to a forum in Toronto Chinatown by a Chinese Radio Station to join in a discussion with other guests on the Minimum wage proposal and its possible impacts. My stance is that while the focus is on the minimum wage increases, we lost sight of the other parts of the legislation which would probably be more nasty and destructive to businesses.
表面上看,最低工资增幅会使最低工资收入者的年薪从$23,712元增至$31,200元,增加幅度为$7,488元。但事实上, 雇主的总成本实际上超过了这个幅度。由于雇主和雇员都要为加拿大退休金计划提供4.95%的工资,因此双方给退休金计划各多付$370.66元。此外,失业保险(UI)也为雇主和雇员增加了另外的间接成本。 2019年失业保险的数字尚难决定, 但如果使用2018年的数字, 保守地说要给雇主额外增加至少$236.40元的负担。因此, 每位员工将使雇主增加$8,095元的额外负担。

On the surface, the minimum wage increase will bring the yearly salary of minimum-wage earners from $23712 to $31200 for an increase of $7488. The total cost to the employer is actually more than this amount. Since both employers and employees have to each contribute 4.95% of the employee's salary to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), there is now an additional annual increase of $370.66 from both parties. As well, the Unemployment Insurance (UI) adds another overhead cost to the employer and the employees. The 2019 UI contribution factor is not available at this time but using the 2018 figure will conservatively add another extra $236.40 (minimum) to the burden of running a business. So far, $8095 has been tallied against the employers for each employee.

When we look at the other parts of the legislation, more expenditures are evident. The payment for 2 extra “Emergency Paid Leave” days and an extra week of holiday for employees with 5 years of seniority will add another $902.51, bringing the total to $8998. Costs incurred to pay part-time workers full time wages will also have to be dealt with.
一个商业协会在给省长的声明中阐述了他们的感受:“在不到18个月的时间里,我们绝对没有办法消化和应付32%的工资增长。”许多企业与客户签订了固定价格的合同, 在合同到期前,他们不能要求涨价。

A business coalition summed up their feelings in a statement to the Premier: "There is no way to absorb and adjust to a 32 per cent hit in less than 18 months." Many businesses have fixed cost contracts with their clients and cannot demand an increase until these contracts run out.
我知道一家向公寓提供保安的公司目前向客户收取每小时$16元的服务费用。这笔款项包括支付高于目前的最低工资标准的工资,失业保险,养老金,办公费,车辆,制服,设备和行政人员的费用。我们可以想象, 这家公司现在的利润率一定很低。问题是, 如果不能减少保安人员的数量,那么他们怎样才能在合约续约之前生存下来?

I know of a security company working with condominiums currently charging about $16 per hour for their services. This amount covers the wages of security guards at a rate slightly above the current minimum wage, UI, CPP,  overhead for the office, vehicles, uniforms, equipment, and administration staff. We can imagine their low profit margin now so how can they survive before contract renewals when the number of guards cannot be reduced?

One manufacturing CEO is correct (see my calculations above) when he stated that the new increases will cost him more than $1 million with his 245 employees, half of them on minimum wages. He hasn't budgeted for an extra million dollars a year and is locked into contracts with big customers. The only way he sees out of the pricing structure is bankruptcy.

Another concern will be to pay commensurate pay bumps to employees already making above minimum wage salary at present. Without an increase, morale will be lowered and productivity and efficiency will take a dive. Of course, reduction in employment force is another alternative for business survival but are massive layoff actions good for the province's economy?

Next time, we will continue to talk about the other parts of the legislation in detail and explore their impacts.

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