Pay Equity Act: 10 years down the road, women still earn 11% less than men. Quebec still has some way to go...



    MONTREAL, Feb. 20 /CNW Telbec/ - Ten years after the Pay Equity Act was
passed, women still earn 11% less than men. Obviously, Quebec still has some
way to go before achieving wage parity, but making the Act more complicated
certainly won't help us get there. That was the position the Ordre des CRHA et
CRIA du Québec (ORHRI) defended yesterday before the Commission de l'économie
et du travail.
    The Order's recommendations are primarily based on the new findings of an
economic analysis carried out 10 years after the implementation of the Pay
Equity Act. The study was conducted by Analysis Group, Economic, Financial and
Strategy Consultants on behalf of the Order.
    For ORHRI, the survey's findings, together with the expertise of Quebec
CHRPs and CIRCs and the conclusions of the Minister of Labour's report,
clearly indicate that even though the Act has had some positive repercussions,
making it more complicated could impede the attainment of its objectives.

    Close to one-third of organizations are not yet in compliance with the
    Act. Getting our priorities straight!

    According to the Minister of Labour's report, 68% of organizations are in
compliance with the Act, which means that despite the deadline set in 2001,
close to one-third (32%) of organizations have not yet launched or completed
the implementation of their pay equity plan. Accordingly, the Order is
convinced that this issue should become a top priority rather than creating
new obligations for organizations, particularly in respect of maintaining wage
parity as the government approach appears to suggest.
    "Clearly, instituting and supporting pay equity is a choice that we have
made as a society. Efforts should first be concentrated on those companies
that haven't yet begun or completed the process. If the aim is to improve wage
parity in Québec, it is important to ease the constraints involved in
implementing and maintaining pay equity plans," explained Florent Francoeur,
CHRP, President and CEO of the Order.

    Taking compliance costs for organizations into account

    The findings announced yesterday show that implementing the process
generated average direct costs of $161 per employee for those companies that
have achieved pay equity (see Appendix for detailed table). For firms with
10 to 49 employees, this cost climbs to $413, which is significantly higher
than for organizations with 50 to 99 employees or 100 employees or more --
where compliance costs respectively amount to $115 and $68 per employee. In
the Order's view, these figures clearly demonstrate that it costs small
businesses more to apply the Act, a fact that should be taken into account if
we wish to achieve the objective of this legislation.
    "We shouldn't forget that the smaller the business the harder it will be
for it to integrate new regulations and amendments to existing regulations
because it lacks the structure to manage this additional burden. That's why we
recommend that a more in-depth analysis be carried out to examine all the
issues involved in extending certain obligations for businesses with 10 to
49 employees before amending the Act," added Francoeur.

    A wage gap reduction of around 1% attributable to the Act

    The study also shows that even though the wage differential is still 11%,
this figure represents a 2% decrease during the study reference period (from
1997 to 2005). Almost half of this reduction, i.e. 3/4 to 1 percentage point,
is a direct outcome of the Act.
    "The impact of the Act in reducing the wage gap may be surprising, but we
shouldn't forget that without this legislation even this decrease wouldn't
have occurred. The Act has also has raised employers' awareness of the issue
and constitutes a gain for the employees targeted. Of course much still
remains to be done. That's why future amendments shouldn't create additional
obstacles to achieving the aims of the Act," concluded Francoeur.

    To learn more

    The complete ORHRI brief, including the economic study on the Pay Equity
Act, is available at www.orhri.org/presse (in French only).

    ORHRI is the primary human resources management and industrial relations
reference organization in Quebec. Recipient of a Grand Prix québécois de la
qualité 2005, it has a membership of close to 9,000 dynamic professionals,
including over 7,500 CHRPs and CIRCs. It is the only organization authorized
by the Professional Code to confer the designations of certified human
resources professional and certified industrial relations counsellor. Active
in all sectors - businesses, government organizations, unions, academia,
consulting firms - CHRPs and CIRCs work in industrial relations, human
resources management, occupational health and safety and in-house professional
development.

    
                                   Appendix

                     Compliance costs for organizations

                                                Organization size (employees)
                                           ----------------------------------
                                              10-49     50-99   100 and over
    Cost per organization
      Employee hours
        Total hours - all employees              68       134          2,932
        Cost per hour according to size    $  15.68  $  17.91       $  20.66
        Total salary costs                 $  1,066  $  2,400       $ 60,573
      Consultants' fees                    $ 12,117  $  4,758       $ 58,525
      Equipment costs                      $    460  $    200       $ 13,828
      Total compliance cost per
       organization                        $ 13,643  $  7,358       $132,926

    Results per employee
      Employees per organization                 33        64          1,944
      Hours per employee                        2.1       2.1            1.5
      Cost per employee                    $    413  $    115       $     68

    Cost per employee - Quebec
      Percentage according to size
       - Quebec                                25.7%      7.5%          66.8%
                                           ----------------------------------
      Average compliance cost
       per employee                                      $161
                                           ----------------------------------
      Unit cost per category /
       Total cost                               257%       72%            43%


    Sources: ORHRI Survey (2007) among CHRP and CIRC members and Statistics
    Canada. Compilation: Analysis Group, Economic, Financial and Strategy
    Consultants, Marc Van Audenrode, managing principal, Pierre Emmanuel
    Paradis, senior economist, Marie-Hélène Lafeuille, economist, with the
    collaboration of Pierre Fortin, professor of economics Université du
    Québec à Montréal.
    




For further information:

For further information: Caroline Benarrous, Coordinator, Event
organization and communications, (514) 879-1636, ext. 224, 1-800-214-1609,
ext. 224, c.benarrous@orhri.org

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Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines agréés

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