New Brunswick Minimum Wage Increases: Everything You Need to Know

As always, to make sure your business is prepared and stays in compliance, we recommend that you discuss these upcoming changes to the New Brunswick minimum wage with your accountant and lawyer. This article does not constitute legal advice.

What is the minimum wage in New Brunswick for 2023?

On April 1, 2023, the province’s minimum wage increased from $13.75 to $14.75/hour, $1.90 less than the federal minimum wage.

Most employees in New Brunswick must be paid the provincial minimum wage. For instance, salaried, by commission, and piece-work employees must receive compensation in line with minimum wage — the employee’s income must equal at least what they would receive if paid on an hourly basis for every hour of work they perform. However, there are exceptions and certain other considerations, as well, such as overtime minimum wage doesn’t apply until the 45th hour of work in any given week.

Employees who meet the following criteria (not an exhaustive list) are exempt from minimum wage regulations:

  • Certain individuals employed in government construction projects
  • Counsellors and other staff who work at residential camps during the summer

New Brunswick’s minimum wage requirements, like most provinces, are quite lengthy and technical — but this Employment Standards FAQ sheet on minimum wage answers many questions and even provides examples. If you have questions and want to ensure you’re applying minimum wage requirements appropriately, you can contact the New Brunswick Labour Standards Division toll-free at (888) 452-2687.

Note: Federal minimum wage only applies to employees working in industries regulated by the government, such as banking and transportation. Provinces handle other business-related items, such as business licensing and setting the general minimum wage for all other industries.

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Will New Brunswick raise its minimum wage in 2023 and beyond?

Beginning in 2024, all future minimum wage increases will be based on the percentage change of the New Brunswick Consumer Price Index (CPI).

How should small business owners prepare for changes?

Minimum wage increases are great news for employees but not necessarily for business owners. If you’re worried about how upcoming changes might affect your business finances:

  • Audit your expenses: Check your cash flow in detail to ensure you avoid common business mistakes and create a hiring plan that you can afford. In some cases, you may find that hiring temporary workers as needed is less expensive than taking on full-time regular staff.

  • Make sure you hire and keep the right employees: Replacing an employee costs a lot. You decrease the total cost associated with recruiting by retaining valuable employees. Look for candidates who have good track records, come recommended, and fit in with the company culture. Once they’re onboarded, make sure you build a relationship and provide paths for your employees to grow and thrive; it makes it more likely they’ll stay in their roles.

  • Increase prices: Increasing prices is a great way to boost your cash flow. According to Square’s 2023 Future of Retail report, given the current economic climate, 88% of consumers say they’d understand if their favourite local business raised its prices.

  • Update tech: Consider automating certain aspects of the work and find ways to reduce production costs. Investing in small business team management software can help free up your time, better schedule your employees, and, best of all, is easy to learn.

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