Parenting & Family

Salary/Merit increase for the period you were on maternity leave?

  • Last Updated:
  • Mar 12th, 2009 1:19 pm
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Poll: Did you get Salary/Merit increase for the time you were on maternity/parental leave?

  • Total votes: 53. You have voted on this poll.
Yes, I/spouse did
 
21
40%
No, I/spouse did not
 
8
15%
No experience, but I think one should get an increase
 
4
8%
No experience, but I think one should not get an increase
 
20
38%
[OP]
Deal Addict
Aug 12, 2005
1632 posts
22 upvotes
Mississauga

Salary/Merit increase for the period you were on maternity leave?

For those who have taken maternity leave and who normally get a regular annual salary/merit increase, did you get one?

* No personal attack please and I'm simply soliciting subjective opinions on law/policy interpretation on this matter (not personal feeling or prejudice opinion). I do understand that some of you do not agree with this benefit or you didn't get your increase.

My HR told me that employees in my company will get a salary/merit increase, HOWEVER:

1. last time, I came back to work in June and my anniversary date is July 1. The HR said there is not enough performance in the past year since I came back (June-July1) where they can assess me from, so I am not eligible to get a review nor an increase.

2. the 2nd time, I'll be taking my maternity leave roughly from July 1 to July 1, and hence I won't be getting a review nor an increase as well either.

So, if makes me wonder, if I keep planning to have the 3rd or 4th kid near July, the anniversary date, I will be continuously missing out my regular review and increase and fall out or keep staying at the bottom of the salary grid. Is that right?

My HR told me, people don't usually time their maternity leave close to their anniversary date so they will miss the review/increase. She said, if I take my maternity leave from Nov to Nov, then there will be something for them to assess me from both year prior and after my maternity leave and hence, I will be receiving a review/increase for the whole year even I was partly on leave.

And I'm dumbfounded as I'm getting penalized for the timing of when I'm taking my maternity leave and merit increase is routinely given to all employees on the anniversary date (it's just a matter of how much based on your score). It seems to me that it is some form of discrimination.

There is another group of employees in my company, and their policy interpretation said that "the principle of no professional disadvantage should prevail for staff on maternity/parental leave and calculations should be based on the employee's work before and after the leave and performance prior to the leave may be a good indication of the merit increase for the leave period." So, they will get a merit increase even if they went on maternity leave exactly from anniversary date to anniversary date because the company will do the assessment based on performance from previous years.

I think the company should have the same view in treating all employees who take maternity leave? What's your experience?

I even called the Employment Standard Acts, but the lady just told me immediately without evening thinking or asking further questions: "of course you won't get any review/increase because you didn't work while you were on leave". I am a bit reluctant to believe her quick comment because in the ESA, it says "...if the wages for the job went up while the employee was on leave, or would have gone up if he or she hadn't been on leave, the employer must pay the higher wage when the employer returns from leave..." and "...employers cannot penalize an employee in any way because the employee took a pregnancy or parental leave".

Here is a relevant case regarding this issue (except that the employee has a union to fight for her, but I think it is the interpretation of treating employees who went on maternity leave that matters):

http://www.mgeu.mb.ca/147/210/1018
30 replies
Deal Addict
Jul 29, 2002
1925 posts
64 upvotes
If the raise is tied to performance, then I don't think you should get one, just like what the ESA lady told you. It wouldn't be fair to other workers IMHO. However if it's a standard cost-of-living increment then I think you should receive it even if you are on mat-leave.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Dec 23, 2003
11423 posts
590 upvotes
Toronto
Why would you get a raise when you are on Mat leave? You have contributed nothing to the organization and only incurred costs. You would be entitled to a merit increase for the time that you were physically working and performing tasks at the organization.

Sitting on your keister getting paid from the company hardly gives you the right to get the same $$ as someone who has been physically working for 1 year.

In fact you should be happy to have a job in this environment and not worrying about salary increase. God talk about greedy!
[OP]
Deal Addict
Aug 12, 2005
1632 posts
22 upvotes
Mississauga
siriuskao wrote:
Feb 4th, 2009 12:41 pm
If the raise is tied to performance, then I don't think you should get one, just like what the ESA lady told you. It wouldn't be fair to other workers IMHO. However if it's a standard cost-of-living increment then I think you should receive it even if you are on mat-leave.
In my case, my merit increase is tied to performance, so is the other employee group in my company whose merit increase will be based on performance of previous year before the leave - which I think it's not fair because they simply deny me any review/increase.

It wouldn't be unfair to other workers because other workers in my company are getting their full review/full increase. My company is discriminating the timing of when my baby is born since I was told I would get the full review/full merit increase if I adjust it in such a way that it's not near the anniversary date.

In Ontario (where the employment law is slightly better than in Alberta since Alberta only requires employer to reinstate the employee to a salary/benefit at not less than the wage they enjoyed when the leave started), the ESA says that employees must be reinstated at a rate that is equal to the greater of the rate that they most recently earned and the rate that they would be earning had they continued to work during the leave. - isn't the merit increase be part of it especially all employees in my company get a merit increase regularly annually, it's just a matter of how much based on performance rating.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Aug 30, 2006
3568 posts
31 upvotes
ayeung wrote:
Feb 4th, 2009 11:55 am
"of course you won't get any review/increase because you didn't work while you were on leave".
if you don't work, I don't think you deserve an increase.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Aug 12, 2005
1632 posts
22 upvotes
Mississauga
hightech wrote:
Feb 4th, 2009 1:43 pm
Why would you get a raise when you are on Mat leave? You have contributed nothing to the organization and only incurred costs. You would be entitled to a merit increase for the time that you were physically working and performing tasks at the organization.

Sitting on your keister getting paid from the company hardly gives you the right to get the same $$ as someone who has been physically working for 1 year.

In fact you should be happy to have a job in this environment and not worrying about salary increase. God talk about greedy!
I'm not planning to ask for more than what I'm not entitled to, but if my province's employment law and my company benfit do make me entitle to a merit increase, I don't see why I should give up in finding out just because I'm having a baby close to my anniversary date.

I'm afriad my boss (or anyone who has no background or interest in discussing employment law or company policy) will think like you too, but come on, I'm just trying to find out what other people thinks and their experience on this especially those in Ontario BECAUSE the ESA says that Ontario employees must be reinstated at a rate that is equal to the greater of the rate that they most recently earned and the rate that they would be earning had they continued to work during the leave. - isn't the merit increase be part of it especially all employees in my company get a merit increase regularly annually?

The employee in the same company with a Dec baby will get the merit increase versus the employee in the same company with a June baby will not - is that fair?

Thanks for your input.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Aug 12, 2005
1632 posts
22 upvotes
Mississauga
ricoboxing wrote:
Feb 4th, 2009 1:58 pm
if you don't work, I don't think you deserve an increase.
I would think that it is also fair that one don't get their increase/salary if they haven't work. But in reality is a worker who took 1/3 of the time on sick leave will get the same increase years after years as someone who work all their shifts in my company. Unfortunately, whether it's fair or not, it's part of the company benefits and compensation policy.
Sr. Member
Jun 4, 2007
922 posts
202 upvotes
I took mat leave in August of 2007. My last increase before that was Nov 2006... so I could have received one in Nov 2007 (but I was off on Mat leave so I didn't receive the increase)

I have been back at work for several months now and still my last increase was November 2006.
Deal Addict
Jan 21, 2008
1661 posts
372 upvotes
Oakville
I think it might depend on the companies raise history with you. Have you always received a raise on a certain anniversary date? If so you should continue to do so.

From personal experience, my wife who is a non-unionized nurse still received a pay raise on her start date anniversary.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Aug 12, 2005
1632 posts
22 upvotes
Mississauga
jumbojones wrote:
Feb 4th, 2009 3:29 pm
I think it might depend on the companies raise history with you. Have you always received a raise on a certain anniversary date? If so you should continue to do so
Answer is: yes. That's what I thought theoretically.
Deal Addict
Oct 29, 2004
1144 posts
25 upvotes
GTA
You are legally entitled to a regular raise in Ontario:

http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/es/ ... tml#rights
Also, if the wages for the job went up while the employee was on leave, or would have gone up if he or she hadn't been on leave, the employer must pay the higher wage when the employee returns from leave.
Member
Apr 9, 2004
314 posts
46 upvotes
London
I received a raise while I was on mat leave, but not tied into performance as part out our union agreement.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Mar 31, 2008
8014 posts
649 upvotes
Toronto
slim_shady wrote:
Feb 4th, 2009 6:51 pm
You are legally entitled to a regular raise in Ontario:

http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/es/ ... tml#rights
No, if you read it, that's based on a standard increase that would have occured regardless of performance.

"If the wages for the job went up..."

Considering that many raises and band with for salaries do NOT occur automatically, nor change, then your are NOT legally entitled to a regular raise. Ie. If the employee literally sat on their arse all year, met all the miminal requirements (basically just neutral/NA), and still would have gotten a raise, then yes, they would be entitled.

So if the job or company essentially mandates a raise every year regardless of performance, then yes, they cannot deny a raise but if they do not (peformance driven), then no. There is no law I'm aware of that mandates a company to give a raise regardless of peformance.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Aug 12, 2005
1632 posts
22 upvotes
Mississauga
A few paragraphs in the "Pregnancy, the Workplace and the Law" by Melanie Manning:
"What is not certain is an employee's entitlement to merit increases or bonuses that are based upon performance. Should an employee who works only a portion of the year be entitled to either? Should that employee receive a pro-rated share? These questions have not yet been answered. It is possible that the employment standards provisions that fall into at least the second and third categories (BC, Prince Edward Island, Ontario, NW Territories & Nunavut) could be interpreted to include merit-based increases. Even if those provisions are not given a broader meaning, it is likely that a denial of a merit increase or performance-based bonus would amount to discrimination on the basis of sex or family status. This may be the case where an employee worked a portion of the time period taken into account by the employer in assessing the merit increase or bonus. A pro-rated bonus would not likely to offend human rights legislation given that other employees who work only part of the year usually receive only a pro-rated portion of the bonus, as is often the case with new employees who started their employment at some point during the bonus year.

Performance and merit increases involves a discretionary element. Performance or merit increases may be measured by virtue f increases skills and abilities attained by an employee over a given period of time. If an employer exercises discretion in awarding such increases, it is arguable that a person who was not present at work should not be entitled to an increase because her value to the company did not increase over the relevant time period. If, however, increases are routinely awarded to all employees, little discretion can be said to be involved."
[OP]
Deal Addict
Aug 12, 2005
1632 posts
22 upvotes
Mississauga
More reading ...
Quote from Employment Standards Act section 43 (3)

The employee shall pay a reinstated employee wages that are at least equal to the greater of:

(a) the wages the employee was most recently paid by the employer, or

(b) the wages that the emplyee would be earning had the employee worked throughout the leave.
Quote from "The Employment Law Manual: Wrongful Dismissal, Human Rights and Employment Standards (vol. 3, 23.4-23.6)" by the Hon. Mr. Justice John R. Sproat:

In essence there are 2 alternative interpretations of section 43(3) [R.S.o. 1990] of Employment Standards:

1. That you simply assume that the employee worked during the pregnancy leave and as such the employee is entitled to non-discretionary increases falling in during this period; or

2. That you assume not simply that the employee worked, but that the quality and quantity of their work continued at the level exhibited prior to the leave, thereby entitling the employee to any discretionary increases that would otherwise be awarded.
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