In 2018, there were 22,500 minimum-wage workers in New Brunswick, which is equivalent to 7.2% of all employees in the province. These workers currently earn $11.50 per hour.

It is not only teenagers who work at minimum wage. In 2018, 62% of minimum-wage earners in New Brunswick were 20 years of age or older. The number of youth between the ages of 15 and 19 working at minimum wage in this province even dropped, from 50.6% to 38.4% from 2007 to 2018.

More women than men (59%) worked at minimum wage.  Slightly more than half of these employees (51%) had part-time jobs. Most of these jobs (73%) were in sales and services.

Almost all the employees (94.2%) were not unionized, so they only have the New Brunswick Employment Standards to protect them in their workplaces.

It’s interesting to note that in 2016, almost half of the jobs (48%) were with companies that had 500 employees or more.

Moreover, in 2018, almost 92,800 workers, or 30% of all employees in New Brunswick had salaries lower than $15/hour.

For a number of these workers and their families, poverty is either a reality or a constant threat.

To better understand their reality, we have identified four categories of minimum wage workers: 1) single individual, 2) single parent with one child, 3) couple with one child, one income, and 4) couple with two children, two incomes.

According to our research, in all four scenarios, be it for a single individual, a single-parent family with one child and one income, a couple with one child and one income, or a couple with two children and two incomes at minimum wage, they all face an annual deficit. It is evident that in each scenario, the slightest increase in costs will render the financial situation more difficult. An annual deficit means that minimum wage workers must cut back on goods and services to survive on a low salary.

Annual net income, total annual expenses and deficit. New Brunswick, 2018 ($)

 Single individual

1 minimum wage

Single-parent family

1 child

1 minimum wage

Couple

1 child

1 minimum wage

Couple

2 children

2 minimum wages

Annual net income 20,61029,92428,64748,999
Total annual expenses 25,20631,37336,82850,760
Deficit -4,596-1,449-8,181-1,761

 

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