Since April 1, Ontario employers are legally required to pay part-time and full-time employees the same wage for equal work. This is a provision included in Bill 148.
Part-time employees can file for wage reviews with their employer or the Ministry of Labour if they do not believe parity is being enforced.
Legal labour lawyer and industry expert Laura Williams, Founder and Principal of Williams HR Law, says that there are a few things that employers should know:
An employer must provide written responses to wage review requests stating an employer’s reasons for disagreement if the request for parity is denied
Reprisals against the employee based on these requests are prohibited
If an Employment Standards Officer finds that an employer has paid an employee less solely based on employment status, the officer will determine the amount owing to the employee
It is recommended that employers prepare for the new regulations. According to Williams, employers should:
Evaluate existing policies and practices for compliance, identify gaps and strategize how to resolve gaps
Review and consider new entitlements to ensure they are not unintentionally providing greater right or benefit to some employees over others
Review positions to determine whether roles are substantially similar in effort, skill, responsibility and their working conditions, or whether they fall within an exemption
Explore possible applicable exceptions to maintain wage differences based on employment status where justifiable
Be transparent about pay and compensation programs that could give rise to pay differences based on employee status
If you would like to find out more, watch the Navigating Changing Employment Law Landscape Webinar.