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What are the Compliance Deadlines?

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Disclaimer: This Guide gives an overview of the minimum requirements of the Pay Equity Act as interpreted by the Pay Equity Office. The interpretations are drawn from our own experiences and by applying the key rulings of the Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal and the courts and is current to the date ​of publication. ​

 

What are the deadlines for meeting the requirements of the Pay Equity Act?

An employer's compliance deadline depends on whether the establishment is in the public or private sector, when it came into existence and the number of employees it had on January 1, 1988 (when the Act became effective) or July 1, 1993 (when the Act was amended).

Deadlines for employers not subject to Part II requirements

  • All new public sector employers that started their organization after July 1, 1993 must achieve pay equity immediately upon start–up. Please note this does not apply to those public sector employers who are covered by theproxy provisions of the Pay Equity Act (Part III.2) (See Proxy Comp​arison Method​).
  • All private sector employers with fewer than 10 employees in existence on January 1, 1988 and all new private sector employers that started business after January 1, 1988 must achieve pay equity on the day they hire or hired their tenth employee (Table 1).
  • Smaller private sector employers who had between 10 and 99 employees on January 1, 1988 and who chose not to post a pay equity plan by December 31, 1993 must achieve pay equity according to deadlines that depend on their size and method of implementing pay equity (Table 2).​

​​Table 1: New employers established after the Act came into effect or July 1, 1993, and existing private sector employers with fewer than 10 employees

Employ​erNumber of EmployeesAchievement Date
New public sector employer established after January 1, 1988N/AImmediately upon start up
New private sector employer established after January 1, 198810 or more employeesImmediately upon start up
New private sector employer established after January 1, 1988Fewer than 10 employeesDay when 10th employee is hired
Private sector Employer existing as of January 1, 1988Fewer than 10 employeesDay when 10th employee is hired​

​​

Table 2: Achievement dates for smaller private sector employers who were NOT required and chose NOT to post pay equity plans

EmployerMethod of ComparisonAchievement Date
Private sector with 50 to 99 employees in 1987 who did NOT post a pay equity planJob-to-jobJanuary 1, 1993
Private sector with 50 to 99 employees in 1987 who did NOT post a pay equity planProportional valueJuly 1, 1994
Private sector with 10 to 49 employees in 1987 who did NOT post a pay equity planJob-to-jobJanuary 1, 1994
Private sector with 10 to 49 employees in 1987 who did NOT post a pay equity planProportional valueJanuary 1, 1994
Private sector with 50 to 99 employees in 1987 who choose to post a pay equity plan​Job-to-jobJanuary 1, 1994

Deadlines for Part II Employers

For private sector employers that had employees on January 1, 1988 and public sector employers with employees on either January 1, 1988 or July 1, 1993, the deadlines for complying with Part II requirements for posting pay equity plans and making adjustments are based on how many employees the private sector employer had, whether the private sector employer chose to post a plan by December 31, 1993 and the comparison method used by either a private or public sector employer to achieve pay equity (Tables 3 and 4).


Table 3: Deadlines for posting pay equity plans and first adjustment dates for public sector employers

EmployerMethod of ComparisonPosting of Pay Equity PlansFirst Adjustment DatePosting of Amended Pay Equity Plans
Public sector with employees in 1987Job-to-jobJanuary 1, 1990January 1, 1990N/A
Public sector with employees in 1987Proportional valueJanuary 1, 1994January 1, 1993January 1, 1994


NOTE: There is no achievement date for private sector employers in Table 4. They are all required to spend at least 1% of previous year's payroll on pay equity adjustments until pay equity is achieved.


Table 4: Deadlines for posting pay equity plans and first adjustment dates for private sector employers

Employer
Method of ComparisonPosting of Pay Equity PlansFirst Adjustment DatePosting of Amended Pay Equity Plans
Private sector with 500 or more employees in 1987Job-to-jobJanuary 1, 1990January 1, 1991N/A
Private sector with 500 or more employees in 1987Proportional valueN/AJanuary 1, 1993January 1, 1994
Private sector with 100 to 499 employees in 1987Job-to-jobJanuary 1, 1991January 1, 1992N/A
Private sector with 100 to 499 employees in 1987Proportional valueN/AJanuary 1, 1993January 1, 1994
Private sector with 50-99 employees in 1987 who choose to post a pay equity planJob-to-jobJanuary 1, 1992January 1, 1993N/A
Private sector with 50-99 employees in 1987 who choose to post a pay equity planProportional valueN/AJanuary 1, 1993January 1, 1994
Private sector with 10-49 employees in 1987 who choose to post a pay equity planJob-to-jobJanuary 1, 1993January 1, 1994N/A
Private sector with 10-49 employees in 1987 who choose to post a pay equity plan​Proportional valueN/AJanuary 1, 1994January 1, 1994


What if an ​​employer did not implement or achieve pay equity by the deadline?

Employers who did not implement pay equity according to their deadlines have to conduct pay equity job evaluations and comparisons as if these tasks were completed on time, and if necessary, make payments retroactive to the applicable deadline. Review Officers have the authority to order interest on retroactive payments. Part II employers who did not achieve pay equity according to the applicable deadline are not now able to take advantage of the minimum 1% of payroll to pay adjustments over time.

When ar​​e retroactive payments due?

If an employer owes retroactive payments resulting from a pay equity plan or process that was implemented after the applicable deadline, these payments are now overdue and must be paid immediately. Retroactive payments should be calculated as if they were paid on time and are cumulative. Review Officers have the authority to order interest on retroactive payments.

What are retroactivity dates ​​​for overdue pay equity adjustments?

If an employer did not implement or achieve pay equity by their compliance deadline the employer's liability for pay equity is retroactive to the date when pay equity should have been implemented or achieved in the establishment.

Retroactivity dates for employers not subject to Part II requirements are:

  • The retroactivity date for private sector employers with under fewer than 10 employees in existence as of January 1, 1988 and private sector employers that started their company after January 1, 1988 is the day they hired their tenth employee.
  • The retroactivity date for public sector employers established after July 1, 1993 is the day the organization started.
  • For private sector employers that had between 10 and 99 employees on January 1, 1988 and who were not required and chose not to post a pay equity plan, adjustments were due from their mandatory achievement date (Table 2).

Retroactivity dates for Part II employers are:

For private sector employers that had employees on January 1, 1988 and who were required to post a pay equity plan or chose to do so, adjustments were due from the first adjustment date according to the number of employees [13(2)(e)] (Table 3). Those employers who applied the proportional value comparison method to those female job classes that could not achieve pay equity by the job–to–job method of comparison were required to make the payments retroactive to the first adjustment date [21.10(1–2.1)] (Table 3).

Public sector employers with employees on January 1, 1988 or July 1, 1993 that used either the job–to–job or proportional value comparison methods must have fully achieved pay equity by January 1, 1998.

Public sector employers with employees on July 1, 1993 that have been using the proxy method of comparison should have posted their pay equity plans by January 1, 1994. Proxy adjustments were to begin January 1, 1994 and continue every year until pay equity is achieved.

Q&As: Meeting Pay Equity Obligations Retro​​actively

1. Can pay equity be deferred if a business is in financially difficult times?

No. All employers covered by the Act must achieve and maintain pay equity regardless of financial hardship or any other difficulty. There is no defence for non-compliance: employers cannot say, for example, that they were not aware of their obligations or that they did not have the money for pay equity adjustments. Employers who do not implement pay equity are liable for making pay equity payments that they owe to all current and past employees for the period they were originally due. In some cases, retroactive payments can grow to substantial amounts. Review Officers have the authority to order interest on retroactive payments.

2. Are employers required to implement pay equity retroactively since the jobs have changed and the comparisons today will not be applicable?

Yes. Employers who did not implement and achieve pay equity according to the original deadlines are required to do so now as if they had implemented pay equity when they were expected to have done it. In order to understand their obligations, the employer would have to determine the number of employees they had in 1987 and whether they were subject to the Part II requirement to develop and post a pay equity plan. They would define the female and male job classes they had at the time of implementation. If these jobs were different than the current ones, or there were changes since the time of implementation, the employer will have to find and use job information and job rates from those points in time to value and compare the job classes.

3. Are former employees entitled to retroactive adjustments?

Yes. Employees who have left the establishment do not lose their entitlement to pay equity. Former employees are entitled to retroactive adjustments relating to the time they were employed in the position, pro–rated to the time they left the company. An employer is expected to make a reasonable effort to contact former employees to inform them about the outcomes of pay equity and to pay them any outstanding payments. Search strategies may include posting newspaper advertisements or notices through professional associations, or Internet searches, sending notification to employees at their last known address by regular mail, or reaching them by telephone, fax, or e–mail. Employers are advised to document their search efforts.

4. A private sector employer had 60 employees in 1987. By 2009, this employer had not done pay equity. Does the employer need to post a pay equity plan?

No. This employer was never required to post a pay equity plan. Posting a pay equity plan is only required for employers in the private sector who had 100 or more employees on January 1, 1988 and public sector employers that had employees on January 1, 1988 or July 1, 1993 (Part II employers). However, the employer in this example must still implement and achieve pay equity. This means that the employer is required to demonstrate that male and female job classes in the establishment were identified and valued, that comparisons of female and male job classes were made using the job–to–job or proportional value methods and the job rates of female job classes were adjusted, if found to be less than the job rates of comparable male job classes. In addition, the adjustments would be owed retroactively to the date when pay equity was to have been achieved in this workplace.

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