Pay equity

23 October 2016

On November 21, 1996, the Government of Quebec adopted the Pay Equity Act. This law aims to correct wage gaps between categories of female-dominated jobs and job categories deemed equivalent that are male-dominated. It thus aims to correct wage inequalities that affect women solely because their field is dominated by women; it therefore has an effect only on these job categories and in the case of discrimination. At the end of the equality assessment at a company, if there is a demonstrable pay inequality in a female-dominated category, the employer must adjust wages of all workers in this work category. The mechanisms for implementing the law are quite complex.

From the start, the SEU 800 understood the stakes of this Act and acquired the tools to provide its members all the support they need. Therefore, someone has been trained and is specialized in the application of the Pay Equity Act; in addition, a training course was designed for our members and all members of Pay Equity Committees who wished to, have received this training. Moreover, this specialist is acting as advisor to various pay equity committees that require its services and, in many cases, participates in meetings with employer representatives.

The Act stipulated that companies had to have finished work on pay equity by November 21, 2001. As expected, many companies did not comply with this deadline, and work is still ongoing in many places. An employer who has not paid the salary adjustments on schedule must pay interest at the legal rate starting from the time when he should have started paying the adjustments. The SEU 800 continues to monitor these issues and ensure its support to its members.

The Act also stipulates that after achieving pay equity, companies are obliged to maintain it thereafter. Therefore, the creation of new job classes, changes to existing tasks and responsibilities of job classes and changes to wages during collective bargaining negotiations will need to consider pay equity. As such, the SEU 800 will continue to provide its members all the support necessary to allow them to achieve this.