Section 2 of the Pay Transparency Act, which requires employers to provide expected salary or wage information in publicly advertised job opportunities, comes into effect on November 1, 2023. The government of British Columbia has recently provided additional guidance regarding the requirements.
This new guidance provides examples of public postings that meet the requirement of Section 2(a) of the Act to specify either (i) the expected salary or wage for the job, or (ii) the expected salary or wage range for the job, subject to any prescribed limitations on the use of a range for this purpose.
Examples of acceptable expected salaries or wages for the job are specific hourly or annual wages such as “$20 an hour” or “$40,000 per year”. With respect to salary or wage ranges, acceptable examples include “$20-$30 per hour” or “$40,000 – $60,000 per year”. Unspecified minimum or maximum amounts do not meet the requirement for salary or wage ranges, i.e., ranges such as “$20 per hour and up” or “up to $30 per hour” are considered non-compliant with Section 2.
- Currently there are no guidelines as to how large the range on an advertised wage or salary range can be. Limits may be set out by regulation in future.
- Employers do not need to include bonus pay, overtime pay, tips, or benefits on job postings. They may voluntarily choose to include this or other information if desired.
- Employers and employees can negotiate an applicant’s salary. Applicants are not prevented from requesting a higher wage or salary than the amount advertised. Employers are not prevented from agreeing to pay a higher wage or salary than what is publicly advertised.
- Section 2 requirements apply to jobs posted by the employer and by third parties on job search websites, job boards and other recruitment platforms on behalf of the employer. Section 2 also applies to jobs advertised in other jurisdictions if the position is open to BC residents and may ever be filled by someone living in BC, either in-person or remotely.
- The requirements do not apply to “help wanted” posts and general recruitment campaigns that do not advertise a specific job opportunity.
Background on BC Pay Transparency Act
The British Columbia Pay Transparency Act places new requirements on employers. As noted above, effective November 1, 2023, employers must include the expected salary or wage (or expected salary or wage range) for a job in any advertisement for a publicly advertised job opportunity.
This requirement is in addition to certain requirements that are already in effect under the Act. Employers are now prohibited from seeking pay history information about a job applicant by any means, unless the pay history information is publicly accessible. Employers are also prohibited from dismissing, suspending, demoting or disciplining an employee who asks their employer about their pay; reveals their pay to another employee or job candidate; gives information to the Director of Pay Transparency; or, as discussed below, asks the employer about its pay transparency report.
The Act requires “reporting employers” to prepare and publish a “pay transparency report”. The reporting obligation will come into effect as follows:
- The BC government and six largest Crown corporations will be required to produce their first annual pay transparency reports by November 1, 2023, which will be released prior to the year’s end.
- All employers with 1,000 or more employees must produce their first reports by November 1, 2024.
- All employers with 300 or more employees must produce their first reports by November 1, 2025.
- All employers with 50 or more employees must produce their first reports by November 1, 2026.
The pay transparency report must be published on the reporting employers’ websites. Those reporting employers who do not have a website are required to post a copy of the pay transparency report in their workplace so that it is available to employees and must provide a copy to members of the public upon request.
There are currently no regulations accompanying the Act. Once available, the regulations are expected to clarify the specific format and content requirements of the pay transparency reports, among other details. An online reporting tool will be available to assist employers with the annual reports.
The provincial government has provided some guidance as to what the reports will look like, namely:
- Employers will be required to report the pay gap as the difference between hourly wages, overtime and/or bonuses received by men, women and non-binary people.
- They may also be asked to report the pay gap in quartiles (top 25% of earners, high 25%, mid 25% and lowest 25%).
- Real wage data such as dollar amounts will not be reported.
If you have any questions about this topic or any other questions relating to workplace law, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer.