New Deadline for Achieving Pay Equity in Quebec

January 1, 2014, is a new deadline in the application of the Pay Equity Act for Quebec organizations. This is the deadline by which many more employers with 10 or more employees will have to achieve pay equity in their business and have posted the results.

This deadline applies to all employers that became subject to the Act during the calendar years 2008 or 2009:

  • Employers whose business had 10 or more employees during the calendar year 2008 had until January 1, 2014, to meet their pay equity obligations
  • Employer whose business had 10 or more employees during the calendar year 2009 and subsequent years had to realize pay equity within four years from January 1 following the calendar year in which the company reached an average of 10 employees or more

These companies will have received a letter from the Pay Equity Commission reminding them of their obligations, which consist of:

  • The obligation to achieve pay equity in their business
  • The obligation to display the results no later than January 1, 2014

The letter also informs organizations that the Pay Equity Commission can help them in understanding and completing their obligations.

The letter will also inform companies that have achieved pay equity before the January 1, 2014 deadline that they must provide compensation data by that date to prove compliance.

It is important for the employer to complete a declaration stating that they have achieved pay equity, and file the declaration with the commission. Failure to achieve pay equity or file the results within the time prescribed by the Act may result in an investigation.

In order to meet the deadline January 1, 2014, employers are encouraged to take steps as soon as possible to achieve pay equity. Tools and guides are made available on the commission website.

Some background

Studies show that jobs that are generally held by women have been traditionally undervalued in comparison to jobs generally held by men. Pay equity legislation provide a mandatory approach to eliminating systematic discrimination in wages in female-dominated occupations compared to male-dominated occupations. Pay equity refers to equal pay for work of equal value in terms of skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions of occupations, whether the type of work is substantially the same or not. Pay equity deals with the concept that occupations traditionally held by women often have lower wages than occupations traditionally held by men, even though the jobs are of equal value to a company.

The purpose of the Pay Equity Act is to implement affirmative action to redress gender discrimination in the compensation of employees employed in female job classes. Pay equity, under the terms of the Act, is the equalizing of compensation for employees in jobs dominated by females that are of equivalent value to those jobs occupied by males.

The Act requires that a gender-neutral comparison system be developed and used to evaluate what skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions are part of each job class. Where the values are similar, men and women are to be paid an equal rate.

The Pay Equity Act covers all employees who work in the public sector, and private sector organizations with 10 or more employees, as well as their bargaining agents, if any.

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