Despite years of progress, there’s still an amount of gender inequality in the workplace. Paying employees correctly and equality should be high on an employer’s list of priorities.
Equal pay is one of the leading topics in the business world, so you must understand the current legislation surrounding equal pay for equal work. Failure to do so can land you in legal trouble.
In this guide, we’ll discuss what equal pay for equal work is, the benefits it can bring to your business, and the legislation you need to follow.
What is Equal Pay for Equal Work?
Equal pay for equal work specifies that everyone receives the same amount of pay for doing the same work – no matter their gender or non-gender.
Equal work means the same kind of work, in the same establishment, requires the same amount of effort and is performed under similar working conditions.
Employers must also ensure all genders receive equal pay for work of equal value. Even if the jobs are different, it may have the same value to the company.
As an employer, you have a responsibility to ensure you pay your staff correctly and fairly for the work they do. All employees have a right to equal pay for equal work.
Is There an Equal Pay for Equal Work Law?
To ensure employees throughout Canada, there are different legislations in place. The federal government established the Pay Equity Act, which came into force on August 31, 2021. The purpose of this act is to achieve pay equity for jobs that are commonly done by women.
You must understand the legislation for your province:
Equal pay for equal work in Ontario is covered by the Employment Standards Act (ESA) and the Ontario Human Rights Code. The ESA requires that employees receive the same amount of pay for equal work.
Ontario's Pay Equity Act requires provincially regulated employers to follow certain measures to assess and ensure pay equity in the workplace. Ontario also passed the Pay Transparency Act in 2018, however, it’s currently on hold and hasn’t yet come into force.
Alberta and British Columbia
Both Alberta and British Columbia don’t have official equal pay legislations in place.
However, the Alberta Human Rights Act prohibits any gender discrimination. It also states that employees of all genders should receive equal pay for the same or substantially similar work.
The government of British Columbia is in the stages of bringing in pay transparency legislation.
How Does Equal Pay Affect Business?
There are a range of business benefits that come with providing equal pay for your employees. It:
- Creates a workforce with stronger employee engagement and retention.
- Increases company reputation, meaning you can attract the best staff.
- Legal responsibilities and requirements for equal pay are met.
- An increase in employee morale and efficiency.
- Sends a positive message about your organization’s values and social responsibilities.
What Happens if You Don’t Pay Your Employees Correctly?
Failure to pay your staff correctly is a violation of the ESA. Violating this act can lead to employment claims.
Employees can make a complaint against you to Employment Standards if they feel they’ve been incorrectly paid. If found guilty, you could be fined or prosecuted depending on the severity of the ESA violation.
Get Help with Your Employee Pay Today with BrightHR
It’s important you pay your staff correctly for the work they do. Equal pay for equal work is vitally important to the modern workplace. Not paying employees fairly can lead to a decrease in employee morale and productivity.
If you need assistance with paying your employees correctly, BrightHR has a handy tool that will help if required.
Our payroll navigator tool allows you to keep records of your employees pay, to ensure you’re following the correct procedure.