Is pay equity still a critical concern in the context of COVID-19?

Published on: July 25, 2020
Subjects:  Pay equity, Total compensation

A large number of businesses must complete a 2020 pay equity audit under the Quebec Pay Equity Act, which requires employers to demonstrate that positions held by women are treated equally to those held by men. For many employers, this will be their first time completing a pay equity audit under the Act’s new provisions.

While the majority of companies are in the habit of assessing pay equity maintenance without involving their employees, some must now, at minimum, consult them, and a number of companies will be required to take corrective action that could be retroactive to 2015.

Federally regulated businesses will also need to watch for the coming into force of a law similar to the Quebec Pay Equity Act, possibly in 2020.

Planning in times of crisis

In these uncertain times, will the coming into force of a federal law be delayed? Will the Commission des normes, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST) be flexible about deadlines? We can’t make any assumptions. Many businesses have had to put this exercise on hold in order to deal with much more pressing issues stemming from the COVID-19 crisis. Others have decided to take advantage of the downtime to plan ahead.

Regardless of what you intend to do, the key to a successful pay equity audit is to plan for it and analyze the potential impacts so you can avoid costly results, but more importantly, avoid inaccurate results or results that do not reflect the spirit of the law. An often-overlooked truth is that a pay equity audit tailored to your business’s situation promotes sound compensation practices and enhances employee engagement.

Looking for more information or advice? Contact our experts.

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