On September 1, 2010, Julie was hired as a cashier in a supermarket. As stipulated in her collective agreement, her wage is $9.50 an hour. Her colleagues, who do the same work as she does, were hired only a few weeks prior to the signing of this collective agreement. Their wage is $10 an hour. Julie’s collective agreement contains no wage catch-up provision that would allow her to obtain the same wage as her colleagues.
If it is only the hiring date that justifies Julie’s lower wages, she is the victim of a wage difference prohibited by the Act.
Certain premiums, allowances or indemnities may be added to the basic wage. If an evening or night premium were lower for employees hired after a certain date, this would also be a wage difference prohibited by the Act.
Angelo was hired on June 14, 2010. Like his colleagues who have been working at this establishment since January 1, 2010, he is entitled to a vacation indemnity of 6%, whereas employees who have been there longer are entitled to 8%. Even if the minimum indemnity stipulated in the Act is 4%, Angelo could file a complaint and claim the difference between his current indemnity and that of his colleagues. His conditions of employment are less advantageous due solely to his hiring date, which is prohibited by the Act.
Marie-Ève has just been hired as a display person in a department store. According to the collective agreement in effect in her enterprise, she receives a wage of $9.50 an hour. After her first day of work, she talks with a colleague, Annie, who is also a display person. Annie tells Marie-Ève that she has been working at the store for 4 years and that she now earns $11 an hour in accordance with the pay scale progression established by the collective agreement.
Marie-Ève cannot conclude that there is a wage difference prohibited by the Act. She earns less than her colleague because Annie has more seniority.
Jean-François has been working as a mechanic since April 1, 2010 in a non-unionized enterprise.
He learns from a colleague that for several years now their employer has given a day off with pay to each employee on his birthday. However, the employer changed his policy on January 1, 2010 and has refused to grant this same advantage to employees hired after that date.
Jean-François finds this situation unfair, but it does not constitute a difference in conditions of employment prohibited by the Act. Indeed, there is no standard requiring that an employer give his employees a day off on their birthday.
Until just recently, Pierre worked as a lead hand in a workshop. He earned $20 an hour under the terms of his collective agreement. Following several changes within the enterprise, his position was abolished. He was reassigned to an operator’s position and is now paid $17 an hour.
Despite this reclassification, the employer could agree to maintain Pierre’s wage at $20 an hour while awaiting indexing up to this pay scale rate. In such a case, Pierre’s colleagues would not have the right to use Pierre’s wage as a basis for comparison to claim a wage difference.
The unionized maintenance employees of the ABC firm earn $15 an hour at the top of the pay scale stipulated in their collective agreement. To increase its market share, ABC merges with XYZ, another enterprise whose maintenance employees are remunerated at a maximum rate of $12 an hour.
To avoid penalizing the employees of ABC, the employer could allow them to temporarily retain this wage difference, without violating the provisions of the Act respecting labour standards. The enterprise is, however, required to establish a single pay scale for all of its maintenance employees within a reasonable time period.
The collective agreement of the SuperPro firm has two pay scales. For employees on the job since January 1, 2010, the wages vary from $20,000 to $50,000. For employees on the job since January 1, 2009, the wages vary from $15,000 to $40,000. To comply with the Act, the employer establishes a single pay scale for all of his employees doing the same work in the same establishment. He determines that their wages will range from $15,000 to $45,000.
To avoid penalizing the employees paid more than $45,000, the employer may decide to let them keep their same wage conditions, until the new scale is indexed to their wages. To permit the elimination of wage differences within a reasonable time period, the increases received by these employees outside the pay scale during the transition period must not be as great as those of other employees.