On May 11, 2023, the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia passed the Pay Transparency Act (the Act). The Act imposes new restrictions and obligation on employers in relation to pay and pay reporting. Provisions already in force prohibit employees from:
- soliciting previous employment pay history information whether directly from a job applicant or through a third party; and
- dismissing or otherwise disadvantaging an employee (or threatening to do so) for making employee pay inquiries, disclosing information regarding employee pay, and taking actions to ensure employers are in compliance with the Act, among other things.
New requirements in effect as of Nov. 1, 2023
Publically advertised job postings
All employers must include in their publically advertised job postings:
- the expected salary or wage; or
- the expected pay range.
This is subject to limitations to be set out in upcoming regulations. Currently, the Act does not include provisions specifying how much the pay range can vary.
Employers do not need to include information regarding:
- bonus pay;
- overtime pay; or
- other employment related benefits in the job posting.
Pay transparency report
Employers above a certain workforce size will be required to complete and post pay transparency reports by Nov. 1 of each year. This requirement will apply in stages over the next four years:
- By Nov. 1, 2023, the B.C. government and the six largest Crown corporations will be required to begin posting annual pay transparency reports.
- By Nov. 1, 2024, all employers with 1,000 employees or more will be required to begin posting annual pay transparency reports.
- By Nov. 1, 2025, all employers with 300 employees or more will be required to begin posting annual pay transparency reports.
- By Nov. 1, 2026, all employers with 50 employees or more will be required to begin posting annual pay transparency reports.
The reports will need to illustrate any gaps in pay between certain groups. Details on what must be included in the reports are being developed in collaboration with the BC Public Service Agency and the six largest Crown corporations that will be required to report first in the fall of 2023.
Takeaway for employers
Currently, the Act is devoid of regulations and there are no enforcement mechanisms in place to punish non-compliant employers. Employers in non-compliance, however, are subject to the legislated human rights framework.
Nonetheless, employers should update their employment policies, practices and contracts sooner rather than later. Specifically, employers should:
- update any policies that restrict employees from asking about employee pay, discussing compensation with other employees and job applicants, or raising concerns about the company's compliance with the legislation;
- update recruitment policies to reflect the prohibition on questions to job applicants about their salary or pay history;
- update publically advertised job postings to reflect the expected pay or pay range;
- consider employee pay information gathering software and privacy mechanisms to facilitate the future implementation of pay transparency reporting; and
- host sessions for managers and others involved in the recruitment process in the coming months to educate them about B.C.'s pay transparency legislation.
For more information, please contact the author or a member of the Employment, Labour and Equalities Group.