Questionnaire reveals critical situation for minimum wage and low wage workers

Indicates urgent need to increase minimum wage


For immediate release

Feb. 19, 2020


Questionnaire reveals critical situation for minimum wage and low wage workers, indicates urgent need to increase minimum wage


Today the NL NDP Caucus is releasing the results of its questionnaire for minimum wage and low wage earners. Launched on December 4, 2019, the questionnaire sought input directly from minimum wage and low wage earners, defined here as people earning $15 an hour or under.

The NDP Caucus questionnaire had 426 respondents.


NDP Leader Alison Coffin says the questionnaire revealed the dire situation that people working minimum and low wage jobs are facing in our province.


“There are 70,000 people in our province earning less than $15 an hour. They are struggling, they are suffering. We have respondents saying they can only afford to eat one meal a day. We have respondents saying they feel they may need to leave NL in order to make a living,” said Coffin.


Key takeaways from minimum and low wage earning respondents:


  • Most of the 426 respondents often struggle to cover daily costs on their low wages.

  • A sizeable minority said they worked more than a normal work week to try and make ends meet.

  • Many indicated they were upset about falling behind, about having debts that don’t get paid off, about having to depend on others for necessities, and about not being able to do enough financially for their families.

  • People noted that their financial situation caused them stress that had negative effects for long-term mental health.

  • Most respondents also did not have money left over for recreation, studies, or other activities that affect quality of life.

  • Most of the respondents had considered or were in the process of moving out of the province.


Coffin says the responses to this questionnaire reaffirm the longstanding NL NDP position that NL needs to boost the minimum wage more than the current annual increase for inflation.


“We need a significant boost now and a plan to incrementally increase the minimum wage until we get to $15. We should not accept having the second lowest minimum wage in the country,” said Coffin. “We need to commit to providing a more promising future for minimum and low wage earners in this province.”


The report, “Questionnaire for Minimum Wage and Low Wage Earners: What the NL NDP Caucus Heard” is available at www.nl.ndp.ca/minimumwage.


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For further information, contact Zaren Healey White, Director of Communications, NDP Caucus at 729-2137 (o), 693-9172 (c), or zarenhealeywhite@gov.nl.ca.


Background


On December 4, 2019, the NDP Caucus launched a questionnaire for minimum wage and low wage earners. The NDP Caucus defines low wage as those who earn $15 per hour or under.


Leader Alison Coffin says her Caucus was not confident that the government’s Minimum Wage Review Committee survey would capture the voices of minimum and low wage earners.


“Regardless of what government’s Review Committee comes up with, we will use the results from our questionnaire to continue our collective efforts to make a $15 minimum wage a reality for the people Newfoundland and Labrador,” said Coffin.


The NDP Caucus Questionnaire was available online, open for just under six weeks, and able to be completed anonymously without requiring a log in or the creation of a user profile.


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