The Northwest Territories government will make $6.2 million available to temporarily top up wages for those earning less than $18 an hour in the territory.
The plan, announced Tuesday in a news release, makes use of $4.74 million from the federal government for what’s being called the “NWT Wage Top-up Program.”
The money will bring a worker’s wage up to $18 an hour from whatever they were making below that threshold, for 16 weeks.
Minimum wage in the N.W.T. is $13.46 an hour, but many small businesses already pay more than that.
All wage earners over the age of 15, making less than $18 an hour, are eligible going back to April 1, but the money will flow through employers to their employees.
According to the government’s news release:
- The wage top-up is a taxable benefit for employees.
- Businesses will receive a one-time payment from the territory to cover the administrative costs of adjusting their employees’ wages and the employer CPP and EI contributions for the top-up portion of the employee’s wages.
- Businesses will be asked to complete an application, providing eligible employee hours and wages. Once applications are approved, the territory will issue monthly payments to employers to cover the cost of the top-up, for a maximum of 16 weeks.
“The NWT Wage Top-up Program provides a thank you in the form of a financial boost to our lower paid workers who are continuing to help sustain the N.W.T. economy while the disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic continues,” states N.W.T. Finance Minister Caroline Wawzonek in the news release.
Employees are encouraged to make sure their employers are aware of the benefit program. The money will arrive as a lump sum payment representing total wage top-up eligibility for the previous month on employee paycheques after the grant has been made to an employer.