BC’s Pay Transparency Rules for Small Employers

Shawnee Love   •   November 1, 2023

We have blogged on Pay Transparency before but since today is the day that the new legislation comes into effect in BC, we have summarized what you need to know and do starting now:

Most important change to note: Any job being posted must have the expected pay or pay range published.

Here are two examples which meet pay transparency standards:

    1. $25/hour (wage) or $52,000 per year (salary),
    2. $25-$30 per hour (wage range) or $52,000-62,400 per year (salary range).

So far, the government is staying out of the breadth of the range including the low end as long as the job pays at least minimum wage.

However, after November 1st, saying things like “starting at $XX/hour and up” will not be acceptable.

Hint: if job posting sites haven’t upgraded to have the necessary fields, you can still put the information in the body of the posting itself.

While posting a rate of pay sounds simple enough, there is more to it. Organizations will need to:

Establish the rate: If you haven’t already, this means you must have the rate in mind (ideally documented). Of course, to appeal to candidates, this rate must be competitive in the market, i.e., show “external equity”. That doesn’t mean you have to be highest paying, but it does mean you have a reasonable rate of pay and a compelling package (which doesn’t have to be posted but may include benefits, RRSP, time off, and also things like culture, growth opportunities, talented colleagues, etc.).

Ensure “internal equity”: This idea of internal equity speaks to the need of employees to feel fairly paid for their work in comparison to the people around them. You will have unhappy employees if they see you are hiring someone for the same or more than they are making. This effort may involve urgent adjustments. We had a case where candidates with almost no experience expected $2 more per hour than a client’s current employees doing the same job. Their solution was to give the current employees a $2.50/hour boost immediately (and before the new hires started) which was nice because they could afford it and it matched their timing for planned increases, but it isn’t always so easy.

Two other specified changes arising out of the Pay Transparency legislation (which we don’t think will create much work) are:

  • We can’t ask candidates about their pay history. (You can ask what candidates want to make, although with the rate of pay or range posted, this dialogue will become more transactional and less aspirational.)
  • Employees cannot be punished for speaking about pay or asking about their pay or the company’s pay transparency report. You will want to update your policies and employment agreements going forward if you directed people not to talk about pay. In fact, we encourage clients to invite dialogue and questions as a way to educate on compensation and how performance and contributions play out in pay.

Also, regarding those pay transparency reports, they:

    1. Will not be required for employers with less than 50 people, and
    2. Will come into effect for organizations with 50-299 people November 1, 2026. (Larger organizations must begin earlier.)

Long story short, if you haven’t already, now is the time to establish pay rates/ranges for your jobs and ensure current employees are paid fairly for their role and efforts.

It is a bit self-serving, but I hope you know we can help you with these things.