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March 2012


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Many factors to balance in employee compensation More than money (Part 2 of 2)

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Tax Savings for Tradespersons
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March 2012 - Welcome to the latest edition of The Payroll News. As always, please feel free to forward this newsletter to your friends and associates who are interested in keeping up with the latest changes in the Payroll industry. Or better yet, subscribe them for free using the Tell Others About Us link.

What's New in Canadian Payroll

Listed here are recent changes in legislation on Federal and Provincial levels that may impact your payroll calculations. Please view the following list for changes that affect your region.


March 30, 2012 - Notice for Amended T4 Slips - The CRA has posted an important update on the CRA Web site for employers who are amending 2011 T4 slips. Starting January 2012 (for the 2011 tax year), box 24 and box 26 of the T4 slip must always be completed; however, if after filing your 2011 information return, you realize that boxes 24 and 26 were left blank, we do not require an amended slip to correct the information. The CRA will default to the box 14 amount for 2011 T4 slips filed where boxes 24 and 26 are blank. (Full Story)

March 27, 2012 - Are you self-employed? - The CRA reminds individuals that as a self-employed individual, you have until midnight on June 15, 2012 to file your 2011 income tax and benefit return. You must pay any balance owing for 2011 on or before April 30, 2012, regardless of your filing date. If you earned self-employment income from a business you operate yourself or with a partner, you should report it on your general income tax and benefit return. (Full Story)

March 22, 2012 - Minister Shea highlights hiring credit for small business - Gail Shea, Minister of National Revenue, is promoting a new credit introduced in the 2011 Economic Action Plan to help small businesses grow. The hiring credit for small business (HCBS) puts up to $1,000 back into the accounts of Canadian businesses. The hiring credit for small business allows employers to offset some of the additional cost of hiring new employees. About 600,000 Canadian small businesses are eligible for this credit. The actual amount credited (up to $1,000) is equal to the increase in the Employment Insurance (EI) premiums paid by a business in 2011 over those paid for 2010. (Full Story)

March 14, 2012 - Interest rates for the second calendar quarter - The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) today announced the prescribed annual interest rates that will apply to any amounts owed to the CRA and to any amounts the CRA owes to individuals and corporations. These rates are calculated quarterly in accordance with applicable legislation and will be in effect from April 1, 2012 to June 30, 2012. (Full Story)

March 1, 2012 - Payroll information for a new small business - If you are an employer or just starting a business, the CRA has posted a video entitled Payroll information for a new small business. The video is intended to help small businesses with the key tax issues they face when starting a new business. (Full Story)

February 13, 2012 - Changes to the Canada Pension Plan Video - The CRA has posted a December 2011 webinar on the Changes to the Canada Pension Plan effective January 1, 2012. On January 1, 2012, changes to the rules for deducting CPP contributions came into effect. These legislative amendments do not affect the salary or wages of an employee who is considered to be disabled under the CPP or QPP, nor do they affect the salary and wages of a person who has reached 70 years of age. (Full Story)

February 2012 - Businesses: one Web page, dozens of online options - The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has created a single Web page where businesses can access all available online options for managing their tax information. Whether you wish to file, review, register, make a request, change or calculate something, you can do it all starting from one page, designed specifically for businesses. Simply select your task from the list to be direct you to the service that is right for you. (Full Story)


March 16, 2012 - Premier recognizes province's healthiest workplaces - Nine Alberta employers have been recognized for their commitment to improving the health of their employees at the fourth annual Premier's Award for Healthy Workplaces. As part of the Alberta government's Healthy U initiative, the award celebrates employers who invest in their employees' well-being through health promotion programs. (Full Story)

March 8, 2012 - Government toughens rules to protect job seekers - The Alberta government is strengthening laws to better protect workers who use employment agencies to find work. Amendments to the regulation will provide additional protections making it illegal for businesses to: mislead temporary foreign workers about their rights or their chance of becoming a Canadian citizen; pressure workers to lie to Canadian officials; intimidate or threaten individuals seeking work; or require workers to provide a performance bond. (Full Story)

March 2012 - Registration now open for Occupational Rehabilitation Forum - The Alberta Occupational Rehabilitation Forum - improving Clinical and Return-To-Work Outcomes takes place in Edmonton on May 26, 2012. Work-related injuries are some of the most common and costly challenges facing the health-care system, and are the leading cause of work loss and visits to health-care professionals. Given the substantial burden that work-related injuries place on individuals and society, improved rehabilitation strategies are needed to help improve return-to-work outcomes. (Full Story)

February 3, 2012 - Program provides opportunity for teachers to specialize and students to benefit - A project to support a growing demand for Career and Technology Studies (CTS) programs in high schools will provide nearly $1 million in grant funding. There is a high demand for skilled CTS instructors in Alberta and it is hoped that this project will open the door to allow school boards to offer more dual-credit CTS programs to students. The demand for skilled labour continues to grow, and giving high school students a chance to get a foot in the door on a trade like carpentry is good for everybody involved. (Full Story)

British Columbia:

March 29, 2012 - Touring jobs show ready to hit the road - Jobfest, an innovative, engaging tour exhibition is ready to hit the road, visiting more than 25 communities in Northern B.C. to connect with young people and their families, educating them on labour market trends and the multitude of career opportunities in our province. JobFest will officially launch on April 18 in Abbotsford during the Skills Canada BC provincial competition. (Full Story)

March 22, 2012 - New tool kit to help reduce the risk of domestic violence entering the workplace - WorkSafeBC is releasing resources to help employers and workers reduce the risk of domestic violence entering the workplace. The Domestic Violence in the Workplace Tool Kit is available online at no cost and provides advice on how to recognize the signs that workers may be affected by domestic violence. It has information about employers' legal obligations, and it also contains recommendations and strategies to help avoid situations where domestic violence could affect the safety of workers and the workplace. (Full Story)

March 21, 2012 - New timeline ensures workplace issues resolved quickly - A ministerial regulation has established new timelines for Labour Relations Board decisions to ensure timely resolution of workplace disputes. Labour Relations Board decisions will need to be managed within 180 days from the date an application is filed ensuring workplace disputes are quickly resolved. The new 180-day timeline includes the time to make submissions, conduct oral hearings and finalize the decision-making process involving matters under the Labour Relations Code. (Full Story)

March 13, 2012 - West Coast leaders launch plan to create a million new jobs by 2020 - Gathering on the eve of the GLOBE Conference on Business and the Environment, leaders from British Columbia, California, Oregon and Washington today endorsed a bold new action agenda to grow the clean economy along the West Coast. To guide the 2012 West Coast Action Plan on Jobs, Pacific Coast Collaborative Leaders commissioned an economic analysis of the clean economy to identify the most promising markets for job creation, including energy-efficient buildings and advanced transportation. (Full Story)

March 13, 2012 - Premier Clark delivers six-month BC Jobs Plan update - Premier Christy Clark released today the six-month progress report for 'Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan', which clearly outlines the steps taken by our government to promote economic investment and job growth in British Columbia. The report to British Columbians serves to keep the government focused on British Columbian's number-one priority: to grow and protect jobs. (Full Story)

March 9, 2012 - BC Jobs Plan Delivering Results - British Columbia continues to be a beacon of economic growth with over 9,000 jobs added to the economy last month. In the past year, 39, 900 net new jobs have been added to our economy. Our government remains focused on jobs and economic growth. The most recent Statistics Canada's monthly report released today noted British Columbia held steady with a 6.9-per-cent unemployment rate, down from 8.7 per cent at this time last year. This is Canada's best percentage point decrease during that time period. (Full Story)

Feb. 24, 2012 - BC Jobs and Investment Board complete - A full slate of BC Jobs and Investment Board members are in place to build on British Columbia's record setting exports in 2011 and the momentum of 'Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan'. The BC Jobs and Investment Board includes experts from industry, policy and trade who will provide advice and direction to government on policies and programs to help attract sustainable investment and support job creation. (Full Story)

February 17, 2012 - provides tools to improve safety for B.C.'s working drivers - WorkSafeBC has launched a new online safe driving website in partnership with the BCAA Road Safety Foundation. is aimed at employers whose workers are required to drive in the course of their work. The website features a host of tips and materials to help employers and workers stay safe while on the road and guides employers through five simple steps to enhance road policies or create new ones. (Full Story)

Feb. 6, 2012 - B.C. Government permitting services to promote local jobs - At the official opening of a brand-new FrontCounter BC office in 100 Mile House, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson also announced the expansion of the service's dedicated call centre. The expansion and opening further supports the 'Canada Starts Here: BC Jobs Plan' by providing easier access to government services that will help to enable quicker job creation and support regional economic development. (Full Story)


March 2, 2012 - Province Announces Construction Worker Wages To Increase Three Per Cent - Minimum wages for the commercial, industrial and heavy-construction sectors will be going up three per cent this year, Family Services and Labour Minister Jennifer Howard announced today. The Construction Industry Wages Consultation Panel came to a consensus on the changes and based on its recommendation, wages for the industrial, commercial and institutional sector will increase three per cent June 1 and again on Jan. 1, 2013. Wages in the heavy construction sector will see two consecutive annual increases of three per cent, with the first raise taking effect on May 1. (Full Story)

February 27, 2012 - WCB Named Top Diversity Employer - The Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba was named one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers during an announcement on February 21. The competition recognized 50 organizations across Canada that led the nation in creating diverse and inclusive workplaces. Each year, the editorial team at Canada's Top 100 Employers reviews the top employer pool to identify the leading organizations that have developed a wide range of initiatives, including programs for: women, visible minorities, persons with disabilities, aboriginal peoples, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) peoples. (Full Story)

February 13, 2012 - Labour Mobility Dispute Settled - A dispute-resolution panel has made a precedent-setting ruling in favour of Manitoba under the national Agreement on Internal Trade on labour mobility for public accountants, Entrepreneurship Training and Trade Minister Peter Bjornson announced today. The minister noted that Manitoba has been a leader in labour mobility improvements in support of workers and businesses in Manitoba, as well as the rest of Canada. This dispute is the first to be heard under the revised labour-mobility chapter of the national Agreement on Internal Trade, which came into effect in April 2009. (Full Story)

February 13, 2012 - Workers Compensation Board's new Brandon office opens today - The Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba (WCB) officially opened its new location in Brandon, Manitoba, today. The office will service workers and employers located in Brandon and surrounding areas. The WCB now has three offices in Manitoba, including a head office in Winnipeg and a small satellite office in Thompson that provides initial adjudication of claims and case management services. The new Brandon office is located in the Renaissance Station building, Unit 1, 457 - 9th Street. (Full Story)

New Brunswick:

February 23, 2012 - Minimum wage to increase to $10 per hour - The minimum wage in New Brunswick will increase by 50 cents to $10 per hour on Sunday, April 1. Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Martine Coulombe made the announcement today. Employees paid a salary, or by commission, or by the piece, are entitled to receive at least the minimum wage for all hours worked under the control of the employer. Once this latest increase is in effect, an individual working 40 hours per week will earn a minimum of $400 per week. The minimum overtime wage rate will be $15 per hour. (Full Story)

February 16, 2012 - 51 Created jobs in Bathurst - Thing5, a provider of call centre services, has expanded its operations in the province and created a new facility with 51 employees in Bathurst. Premier David Alward said that the provincial government is committed to creating an economic environment conducive to developing employment opportunities in Bathurst and the Chaleur region. The new jobs will contribute almost $1.5 million to the province's gross domestic product annually. The provincial government provided support to the company in the form of a $275,000 payroll rebate through Invest NB; and $77,000 for leasehold improvements under the $200-million Northern New Brunswick Economic Development and Innovation Fund. (Full Story)

February 8, 2012 - New President & CEO Appointed To Worksafenb - WorkSafeNB is pleased to welcome its new president and chief executive officer, Gerard Adams, of Riverview. Adams was appointed for a five-year term, beginning February 27. Mr. Adams brings with him the leadership and experience required to effectively lead our organization," said WorkSafeNB chair Sharon Tucker. "On behalf of the board of directors, we look forward to working with Mr. Adams for the next five years and we thank the executive staff and employees at WorkSafeNB for their commitment and service during the recruitment process. (Full Story - PDF)

Newfoundland and Labrador:

March 26, 2012 - Workshop Helps Inuit Women Develop Business Skills - Inuit women from Nunatsiavut had an opportunity to explore their entrepreneurial skills and interest in business at a workshop held in Hopedale last week, so that they may avail of emerging opportunities in Labrador. The Women's Policy Office, in partnership with the Department of Innovation, Business and Rural Development and the Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs, hosted the one-day business development workshop on March 21. (Full Story)

March 21, 2012 - Support for Small Business Remains Strong - In response to a private members' motion today to lower the small business tax rate, the Provincial Government reiterated its support for all businesses throughout Newfoundland and Labrador and indicated it would consider the matter when it makes fiscal sense to do so. The small business tax rate was set at five per cent in 1983 and remained unchanged until 2010 when the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador lowered it to four per cent. Small businesses also benefit from increases in the payroll tax threshold that currently sees only 845 of the province's estimated 23,000 employers paying this tax. (Full Story)

March 16, 2012 - Contract Extensions Issued for Employment Assistance Services - The Provincial Government announced today that contracts with Employment Assistance Services providers across Newfoundland and Labrador have been extended for the period covering April 1 to September 30, 2012, or up to a maximum of six months. This extension will be carried out through amendments to Employment Assistance Services contracts currently in place with the Department of Advanced Education and Skills. (Full Story)

February 03, 2012 - WHSCC addressing privacy breach - The Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission (the Commission) is addressing the inappropriate access of injured worker records by an employee. The breach of privacy was brought to the attention of the Commission's Chief Executive and Privacy Officer on February 2, 2012 and immediately disclosed to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner. The Commission has internal processes that track access to injured workers' records. These processes are being used to assist in identifying and reporting all unauthorized access to records and will further strengthen the Commission's privacy protection system. (Full Story)

Northwest Territories:

February 9, 2012 - Apprenticeship and Occupational Certification - Mr. Speaker, this government promotes the importance of trained and certified skilled journeypersons. We encourage our youth to consider skilled trades as a great career choice, and we celebrate the success of our apprentices and journeypersons. The Department of Education, Culture and Employment commits funding to apprenticeship for both technical training for tuition and related training expenses, and job wage subsidies that assist employers in the Northwest Territories with their apprentices' wages. (Full Story)

Nova Scotia:

March 30, 2012 - Minimum Wage Increases to $10.15 - The minimum wage for inexperienced workers, with less than three months' experience in the work for which they were hired, rises to $9.65. Beginning this year,increases to the minimum wage now occur annually in April based on Consumer Price Index from the previous calendar year. This will keep the rate in line with the Low Income Cut Off set by Statistics Canada. This represents the point where people are devoting a significantly larger than average percentage of their income to the basic necessities of food, shelter and clothing. (Full Story)

March 26, 2012 - Spotlight on Lifelong Learning - Four Nova Scotians are being recognized for sharing their stories of how lifelong learning is benefitting them at home and giving them the right skills for good jobs. Students at the Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning wrote essays on how learning has touched their lives to celebrate Adult Learners' Week. A Literacy Nova Scotia event celebrated the winners. As part of the province's workforce strategy, and the jobsHere plan to grow Nova Scotia's economy, a number of programs and projects help adult learners make the most of their abilities. (Full Story)

March 5, 2012 - Province Invests in Training to Prepare Mi'kmaq for Good Jobs - Mi'kmaq in Cape Breton and eastern Nova Scotia will soon have access to skills and job-readiness training to prepare for the good jobs opening up across the province. Premier Darrell Dexter was in Membertou First Nation today, March 5, to announce $640,000 over two years for the Unama'ki Economic Benefits Office. The investment will fund programs that will help ensure people are ready to fill good jobs in industries seeking workers. (Full Story)

February 13, 2012 - Minister Asks Workplaces To Re-focus on Safety - Seven workplace deaths in just over a month should make Nova Scotia employers and employees think twice about the risks they face in the work they do. Between 2007 and 2011, an average of 25 workers died on the job, so this many deaths so early in the year is cause for concern. In recent years, almost half of all workplace deaths were caused by chronic illnesses, such as heart or lung disease. So far, only one workplace death resulted from a chronic illness this year. (Full Story)

February 3, 2012 - Province, Sector Councils Partner to Support Nova Scotia Industry - Nova Scotia's sector councils and the province are starting a new partnership to more strongly support Nova Scotia industry with human resource strategies. The strategies will address skills development and workforce challenges for the businesses they represent. Sector councils are non-profit, industry-led partnership organizations that help address skills development and HR issues in their industries. (Full Story)


March 21, 2012 - WSIB announces further organizational changes to enhance service - The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) has announced a further reduction in the number of its full-time staff positions. Approximately 129 unionized and non-unionized staff are affected by this change. More than 100 additional employees have elected to voluntarily exit the WSIB. This is part of a long-term business strategy to transform the WSIB into a more effective and efficient organization and to enhance service levels to Ontario's workers and employers. (Full Story)

March 9, 2012 - McGuinty Government Supports Jobs For Students - If you're a student looking for a summer job, or an employer looking to hire for the summer, the Ontario government can help. Through Ontario's Summer Jobs Strategy, the government is helping students find a summer job; launch their own summer business and offering employers a $2-per-hour hiring incentive. Job opportunities are now available through Employment Ontario's Summer Jobs website. Helping students find a summer job is part of the McGuinty government's plan to create jobs and help every student succeed. (Full Story)

March 9, 2012 - WSIB releases 2012-2016 Strategic Plan - The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) has released its new Strategic Plan that will transform the WSIB into a modern, sustainable and customer-centric workplace compensation system. The WSIB's 2012-2016 Strategic Plan aims to deliver the fundamentals - better service to workers and employers - in a financially responsible manner. The WSIB has refocused on supporting workers in early recovery and a return to their work and lives, while making it easy for employers to get back to business. (Full Story)

March 2, 2012 - Making Construction Sites Safe For Workers - Ontario is working to improve safety in high-risk construction trades with a targeted, month-long blitz to protect workers from preventable workplace injuries. Beginning March 1, inspectors from the Ministry of Labour will visit construction projects employing workers in high-rise formwork, low-rise formwork and masonry, siding and built-up roofing work. (Full Story)

February 10, 2012 - Ontario's Construction Industry Is Booming - Ontario's construction industry is thriving, creating jobs and keeping the province's economy moving forward. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts in Ontario was 77,300 units in January - up from 69,600 units in December. Ontario's construction industry employs 442,500 people and has gained 33,900 jobs over the last two years. Residential construction contributed over $41 billion to Ontario's economy in 2010. (Full Story)

February 1, 2012 - Focus On Economy And Job Creation Continues - The McGuinty government continues to focus on strengthening Ontario's economy and creating jobs by announcing the addition of five new members to the Ontario Economic Advisory Panel. In a time of slower growth and global economic uncertainty, the McGuinty government continues to focus on eliminating the deficit to build a strong Ontario economy that creates jobs, attracts investment and supports quality public services. (Full Story)

Prince Edward Island:

March 06, 2012 - Skills Canada Workplace Safety Competition - The WCB is sponsoring the annual Workplace Safety Competition. This competition is part of the annual provincial Skills Canada competition, and is open to high school students from across the province. Competitors will meet at Holland College in Charlottetown and will compete in a series of tasks to test their knowledge about workplace safety, their skills in recognizing workplace hazards, and their ability to present important safety information to others. The winner of Wednesday's competition will travel to Edmonton in May to compete nationally. (Full Story)

March 01, 2012 - WCB Launches Online Employer Assessment Payment Service - As of March 1, employers have the option of paying WCB assessments electronically through WCB Online Services. The Employer Assessment Payment service is now available, along with an online remittance option for those who participate in the Monthly Assessment Payment Option program. The WCB's Online Services offer a convenient and secure way for employers to manage their WCB accounts and to report workplace injuries. Online Services are available all day, every day, from anywhere the Internet is accessible. (Full Story)

February 21, 2012 - Governments invest in skills development in Prince Edward Island - Holland College is diversifying its program offerings to meet the human resource needs of the growing e-health sector. The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of National Revenue, and Minister Allen Roach, PEI Minister of Innovation and Advanced Learning, announced investments today in a new e-Health Training and Industry Support Centre which will be established to provide skills training and industry collaboration. "The students who come through this program will be ready for challenging and rewarding careers in a vitally important field." Said Shea. (Full Story)

February 10, 2012 - Both Governments to help people with disabilities gain job skills - The Governments of Canada and Prince Edward Island will help 10 people with disabilities gain the skills they need to get jobs in the Charlottetown area. The Canadian Paraplegic Association of Prince Edward Island is working in partnership with the Prince Edward Island Council of People with Disabilities on the Discovering the Power in Me program. The Program is receiving close to $120,000 from the governments of Canada and P.E.I. To help participants enhance their resume and cover letter writing, improve time and stress management, develop self-assessment skills, as well as help them find and get jobs. (Full Story)


March 30, 2012 - Saskatchewan's Average Wages - Highest On Record - Saskatchewan's average weekly earnings jumped by 2.7 per cent in January compared to a year ago, according to a report from Statistics Canada. Average weekly earnings in the province were $907.44, the highest on record for Saskatchewan. The increase in wages was above the national increase of 2.0 per cent. Saskatchewan's wages in January 2012 were the third highest among provinces. Alberta had the highest average earnings at $1,065.46. Saskatchewan's earnings have exceeded the national average since August 2011. (Full Story)

March 22, 2012 - The Number Of EI Recipients In Saskatchewan Drops Again - The number of people in Saskatchewan receiving Employment Insurance (EI) dropped in January 2012 compared to the same month in 2011. There were 10,130 beneficiaries receiving regular EI benefits in Saskatchewan, a decrease of 1,610 (-13.7 per cent) from January 2011. This signals 22 consecutive months of year-over-year decreases. Saskatchewan's 13.7 per cent decrease was the fourth largest among provinces and was larger than the national decrease of 12.1 per cent. All provinces experienced a decrease. (Full Story)

March 21, 2012 - Strong And Sustainable Funding For Post-Secondary Education And Labour Force Development - The 2012-13 Budget continues to show strong support for post-secondary education and the development, recruitment and retention of skilled workers. The Ministry of Advanced Education, Employment and Immigration will receive $890.6 million, an increase of 4.1 per cent over last year. The budget provides over $107 million in support for students through programs such as student loans, bursaries, Provincial Training Allowance, Apprentice Training Allowance, Skills Training Benefit, the Graduate Retention Program and scholarships. (Full Story)

March 9, 2012 - Saskatchewan Sets New Highs For February Employment - Employment in Saskatchewan rose to a record high for the month of February with 521,800 employed, as the number of people working grew by 6,100 compared to a year ago. The province also set new highs for the month in full-time jobs and the size of its labour force, according to today's report from Statistics Canada. Off-reserve Aboriginal employment was up by 5,900 (17.4 per cent) for nine consecutive months of year-over-year increases while Aboriginal youth employment was up by 1,400 (17.1 per cent) for four consecutive months of year-over-year increases. (Full Story)

March 5, 2012 - Posts More Than 13,000 Jobs In February - Saskatchewan continues to be a province full of opportunity. In February, the province's website saw 13,740 job postings by employers in 306 communities. This is a 42 per cent jump over February 2011. There were 931,330 visits to the site in February including increasing international visits. From February 2011 to February 2012, there was a notable increase of 156 per cent in site visits from Ireland. (Full Story)

February 23, 2012 - Saskatchewan Among Leaders In Wage Growth In Canada - According to a report from Statistics Canada, Saskatchewan's average weekly earnings for December 2011 increased by 3.3 per cent compared to a year ago. This was the third highest increase among the provinces and above the national average of 2.4 per cent. Saskatchewan's average weekly earnings for December 2011 were $893.21, the second highest in Western Canada behind Alberta ($1,064.80) and above the national average of $888.26. Saskatchewan's earnings have exceeded the national average since August 2011. (Full Story)

February 7, 2012 - Starts The Year With Impressive Numbers - Last month, 14,717 job vacancies were posted to, an increase of 44 per cent over January 2011 and an increase of 24 per cent over the month previous (December 2011). There were 931,372 visits to the site in January. This clearly signals that job seekers are recognizing Saskatchewan as a great place to build a career. (Full Story)

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Many factors to balance in employee compensation More than money
(Part 2 of 2) - Click Here for Part 1

Communicate, communicate, communicate -- Employees want to know how their pay is determined. They want to know when and how they will be eligible for a raise. They want to know what pay grades their job falls in and what needs to be done to move into other levels. Quite often organizations maintain secrecy around the issue of compensation and to do so creates the risk that information is spread through the rumour mill. Practise explaining at least one compensation and benefit element in each of your employee newsletter editions.

Create employee understanding -- Employees need to know that salary is only one part of their total compensation. Share your pay philosophy with employees and help them to understand where you are coming from. Help them to understand all of the elements of compensation and how benefits fit in with the total compensation strategy.

Ensure legislative compliance -- There is nothing more upsetting than perceived inequities in the workplace, especially when it comes to compensation. Be sure your organization is compliant with local legislation such as minimum wage and vacation time. The area of overtime and flextime can be particularly problematic as many organizations operate on an informal basis that causes difficulty in tracking. Informality leads to confusion and inequity and violates local legislation.

Regularly review the benefits package -- The world of benefits is changing quickly and new needs and challenges are continually occurring. This brings new opportunities and new trends such as "menu" planning where individual employees can select the benefits they require. This provides choice for employees and serves to increase independent decision making and job satisfaction.

Focus on a healthy workplace -- While compensation makes up a great deal of an individual's dissatisfaction, other work-related strategies can help to overcome this. Over the past several years, organizations have found that focusing on creating a healthy workplace has paid off. This includes offering health assessments, flu shots and other employee assistance with their health and wellness requirements. As well, employers who care are also focusing on early return to work and disability management.

Create a strong reward and recognition program -- Employee reward and recognition programs are another way to increase employee satisfaction. These programs can contain "at risk" financial rewards such as bonuses and profit sharing. Others offer non-cash awards such as gift certificates, thank-you cards, nominations to employee of the month and/or celebratory lunches and news articles.

Employee dissatisfaction with their personal compensation is usually more than just about money; it's about a combination of "satisfiers" found in the workplace that help individuals gain a sense of "fair felt pay." When attempting to rectify a situation where dissatisfaction exists, all of these elements must be considered and incorporated into a comprehensive compensation, reward and recognition program.

However, one key piece of advice to employers is to act quickly once dissatisfaction about compensation arises. Allowing dissatisfaction to fester only spreads to more employees, which will result in turnover, low morale and poor quality work.

Source: Employee Job Satisfaction: The external forces influencing employee attitudes, SHRM, Issue #4

Article courtesy of Barbara Bowes - Barbara J. Bowes, FCHRP, CMC, CCP, is president of Legacy Bowes Group and vice-president of Waterhouse Executive Search. She can be reached at