Time running out to comply with Pay Equity Act

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Aug. 31 may seem a long way off, but for trucking companies seeking to comply with the Pay Equity Act, the clock is quickly counting down.

“There might be a sense that this is no big deal, and we’ll turn it around in a couple of weeks and we will be done, it will not happen that way at all,” warns Renee Caron, principal at Renee Caron Consulting.

If it is all smooth sailing, there will be about three months of work down the road for federally regulated carriers, noted the experienced pay equity professional who played a role in the development of the act.

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(Photo: iStock)

The Act, which came into effect on Aug. 31, 2021, establishes a proactive pay equity regime for federally regulated workplaces with 10 or more employees. Employers must proactively examine their compensation practices. This is to ensure that they are providing equal pay to men and women doing work of equal value.

Heather Mewhinney and the team at Kriska Transportation Group (KTG) started planning and working on the legislative requirements early. “All KTG companies will complete the process this spring,” said the group’s director of human resources.

Many fleets are working on this and are in various stages of preparation, said Craig Faucette, chief programs officer, Trucking HR Canada (THRC). “The sooner you start the better,” he said.

Value of work

It takes time and energy to determine if job roles have gender predominance, either male or female, he added. It then takes time to assess the value of each role, and depending on the size of the company a committee may be required.

Caron said the first step is to identify job classes. Secondly, female and male dominance within the roles must be identified. If you find female predominance, then you you must determine the value of work, calculating compensation on an hourly basis. This is followed by a compensation comparison and calculation of pay gaps. Finally, the employer begins to adjust payments.

Draft plans must be posted by the end of June, offering employees 60 days to comment. “Work has to be done from January to the end of June, so you are ready to post,” Caron said.

She added that non-compliance will lead to fines. There will be several grades of fines – low, medium and high, and will take into account employer size and conduct.

Time-consuming task

Kriska’s Mewhinney said her team’s experience has been positive and this process ensures that compensation and roles are looked at equitably.

“It’s a time-consuming but important task to confirm that all our job descriptions are up-to-date and accurate. KTG has dozens of roles, and we have been factoring each through the four key areas defined in the Act and assigning weights and values. Though it’s been a big job, we have not had any unwelcome surprises or concerns,” she said. 

For drivers the complex pay structure needs to be worked out so that an hourly dollar figure can be achieved. THRC’s Faucette noted this is challenging because of base pay, incentives, bonuses, and how they all fit within the structure. “Only 3.5% drivers are female so it’s a predominantly male job class,” he said.

Ensuring compliance

Offering tips on how to ease the process, Mewhinney advised that management teams must understand the importance of the legislation and the amount of work it will take to comply with the Act.

“We relied on them (management teams) to confirm job descriptions at their companies and helped them build a plan to evaluate each. Putting in the time and effort on the pre-work to establish the factors, subfactors, and the assigned weighted values is a critical piece of the project,” she said.

“It takes lots of time and research, but it is important to put the work into this step, as it makes evaluating the roles easier if done correctly.”

Carriers that have been putting it off need to start working on this as soon as possible to avoid scrambling at the end. Remember, tick tock, tick tock.

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Leo Barros is the associate editor of Today’s Trucking. He has been a journalist for more than two decades, holds a CDL and has worked as a longhaul truck driver. Reach him at [email protected]

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