The Ontario government recently announced it is increasing the minimum wage to $16.55 an hour on Oct. 1. The 6.8% pay raise for low-income workers builds on the government’s steady and predictable increases every year to help families offset the rising cost of living, the government said.

With the rise, a worker making the general minimum wage and working 40 hours per week will see an annual pay increase of nearly $2,200. There were 942,400 workers earning $16.55 per hour or below in 2022, the majority of whom are women.

The Toronto Star reported Ontarians last experienced a general minimum wage increase in October 2022, when the rate rose from $15 to $15.50. It had risen to $15 that January.

The special minimum wage rates will also increase for:

  • Students under the age of 18, who work 28 hours a week or less when school is in session or work during a school break or summer holidays, from $14.60 to $15.60 an hour.
  • Homeworkers (those who do paid work out of their own homes for employers), from $17.05 to $18.20 an hour.
  • Hunting, fishing and wilderness guides, from $77.60 to $82.85 per day when working less than five consecutive hours in day, and $155.25 to $165.75 per day when working five or more hours in a day.

U.S. Economy Added 236,000 Jobs in March

U.S. employers added just 236,000 jobs in March, and the unemployment rate dropped to 3.5%, according to the March jobs report released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

This is the first jobs report in 12 months that came in below expectations, reported CNN. Economists were expecting a net gain of 239,000 jobs for the month and a jobless rate of 3.6%, according to Refinitiv.

The 236,000 jobs added during March is the smallest monthly gain since a decline in December 2020. Excluding the losses seen during the first year of the pandemic, it’s the smallest monthly jobs gain since December 2019.

However, the job market remains above pre-pandemic norms: Between 2010 and 2019, the economy added an average of 183,000 jobs a month.

Industries such as leisure and hospitality, healthcare and government continued to lead the way in job gains. Industries reporting monthly losses included construction, information services, manufacturing, retail trade and temporary help.

“The labor market in March came in like a lion with a banking crisis and more layoffs, and is going out like a lamb with a solid jobs report,” said Daniel Zhao, Glassdoor’s lead economist, in a statement. “The labor market is still strong, but it’s gliding slowly back down to Earth.”

Tesla Ordered to Pay $3.2 Million in Race Bias Case

As reported by Reuters, a federal jury in San Francisco has ordered Tesla Inc. to pay about $3.2 million to a Black former employee after he won a racial harassment lawsuit against the electric-vehicle maker.

According to Reuters, the verdict came after a week-long retrial in the 2017 lawsuit by plaintiff Owen Diaz, who in 2021 was awarded $137 million by a different jury. A judge agreed with that jury that Tesla was liable but said the award was excessive. He ordered a new trial on damages after Diaz declined the reduced $15 million award.

Diaz had accused Tesla of failing to act when he repeatedly complained to managers that employees at the Fremont, California, factory frequently used racist slurs and scrawled swastikas, racist caricatures and epithets on walls and work areas. As a result, Diaz sued Tesla for violating a California law that prohibits employers from failing to address hostile work environments based on race or other protected traits.

The first jury in 2021 awarded Diaz $7 million in damages for emotional distress and a staggering $130 million in punitive damages. The award was one of the largest in an employment discrimination case in U.S. history.

The jury on Monday awarded Diaz, who worked as an elevator operator, $175,000 in damages for emotional distress and $3 million in punitive damages designed to punish unlawful conduct and deter it in the future.

A Third of U.S. Workers Work From Home Full-Time

About a third (35%) of workers with jobs that can be done remotely are working from home all of the time, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. This is down from 43% in January 2022 and 55% in October 2020 — but up from only 7% before the pandemic.

The new survey finds that 41% of those with jobs that can be done remotely are working a hybrid schedule — that is, working from home some days and from the office, workplace or job site other days. This is up from 35% in January 2022.

Among hybrid workers who are not self-employed, most (63%) say their employer requires them to work in person a certain number of days per week or month. About 6 in 10 hybrid workers (59%) say they work from home three or more days in a typical week, while 41% say they do so two days or fewer.

The majority of U.S. workers overall (61%) do not have jobs that can be done from home. Workers with lower incomes and those without a four-year college degree are more likely to fall into this category.

When looking at all employed adults ages 18 and older in the United States, Pew Research Center estimates that about 14% — or roughly 22 million people — are currently working from home all the time.

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