While many people struggle to make ends meet as the cost of living and housing soars, Island based company Buckerfield’s has decided to give its employees raises and a new living wage standard.The new starting wages there are all well above the $11.35 minimum wage the province is adopting on Sept. 15 and will be adjusted for the cost of living in each of the communities their stores serve. Skye Ryan reports.
There’s an extra pep in Karen Compton’s step at Nanaimo’s Buckerfield’s store. She’s getting a raise.
“Definitely going to be able to afford more food on the table, more of everything,” said the Buckerfield’s employee. “More of everything.”
As of Sept. 2, Buckerfield’s 100 workers at its 8 B.C. stores are being given regional living wages.
This new model means starting wages will be $3 to $6 more per hour than the minimum wage that B.C. will be raising to $11.35 per hour on Sept. 15 Buckerfield’s new pay grid takes into consideration the cost of living in each of the cities the stores operate in and wages will be designed to meet the needs to live in that city.
“They looked at every city in terms of the cost of living and adjusted it so we’re happy,” said Buckerfield’s Employee Donna Walker.
It’s a move that Buckerfield’s customer Chris Brown said impresses him.
“It’s in the word there, living wage,” said the Nanaimo resident. “You are helping people live a good lifestyle.”
Buckerfield’s CEO Kelvin McCullough expects it to cost the company about $300,000 more per year but anticipates the payoff in employee satisfaction and retention to outweigh that.
“If we want people to work their entire lives with us, which we have people who have done that now today, then they should get that out of it because they’re not going to be able to afford their life if they don’t,” said McCullough.
“For those companies that can afford it, it makes imminent good sense,” he added, “And at the same time nobody else is doing it so it is completely unusual. Or almost no one else is doing it.”