We’ve been talking a lot about a $15-an-hour minimum wage, both at the PGA of Alberta buying show and at an Alberta Golf retreat I attended on the weekend in Banff.
The big hurdle is not the person who begins making $15 an hour. It’s about the person who is making $18.50 an hour and suddenly wants $22 an hour.
I took a look at my labour costs right across the board and a $15 an hour minimum wage could result in a 28 per cent increase.
My staff retention rate is close to 70 per cent, but what am I going to say to my nine-year employee if someone is starting at $15 an hour and how do you allocate among the salaried staff? What are your managers worth at that point?
I have to admit I’ve researched my side of it and not the government’s, but the reality is that we have to re-evaluate what we do. We had to do that because of the economy, but this will add to it.
We’ll have to do more with less people. I don’t have a choice and I’ve always prided myself in taking care of staff members.
People are definitely concerned and it’s not just golf. It’s retail, restaurants and other businesses.
We’re not coming out of this economy anytime soon and unemployment in Alberta is getting close to 10 per cent. All of a sudden, they’re going to take the highest unemployment we’ve ever had, then up the minimum wage by about $3 an hour.
Are we going to have a few hard realities to deal with? Sure, but we have to get ready for it. I’m not going to be caught unprepared.
The positive side is that cream rises to the top and you’re going to go with your best employees, but others aren’t going to make it through.