Adjusting pay scales means a pay rise for The Nation employees

An adjustment of salary scales and a salary increase are underway for municipal employees of The Nation.

On July 25, council approved the new salary scales following a review of all municipal salaries and responsibilities in comparison to other municipalities. The result is that The Nation employees will receive a nine percent salary increase over three years. The increases will be implemented at 3% per year, retroactive to January 1, 2022 and ending in 2024.

“The market is very competitive”, clerk and general manager of The Nation Josee Brizard says the council. She said The Nation is not only in tough competition with other municipalities to attract and retain employees, but also with the federal government located nearby in Ottawa.

Brizard said it is difficult to find qualified, bilingual employees. As the largest municipality by region in Prescott and Russell counties, she said it’s also a challenge to maintain a large amount of infrastructure with 50 full-time employees.

“It’s a factor that poses many challenges,” she told the board.

A report by Brizard identifies that The Nation has its employees in management positions working 40 hours per week while other municipalities have their managers working 35 hours per week.

According to the new salary grids, there are 13 salary groups, Group 1 being the lowest salaries and Group 13 being the highest salaries for department managers. Each group includes six different rate classes. The grid for firefighters is established separately and the salaries of students and liquor servers are established according to the regulations of the Employment Standards Act.

Brizard said adjusting the wage grid will help meet the demand for higher wages both the public and private sectors are facing due to high inflation. The annual cost of living increase for employees for the next four years will be negotiated after the new board takes office in 2023.

The increase will cost The Nation approximately $238,156.15 in 2022, approximately $195,298.98 in 2023 and approximately $200,857.95 in 2024. The increase also applies to part-time municipal firefighters. For the 2022 increase, the municipality plans to use $170,000 that was budgeted and additional funds in the water and sewer budget that had been allocated for salaries. Additional funds will also be available for municipal vacancies that have not been filled.

The motion to approve the adjustment to the salary scales is proposed by the councilor Marie-Noelle Lanthier and supported by Councilor Alain Mainville.

“Council members and mayor, employees are very grateful,” Brizard said, after council gave its approval.

Mayor Francois St-Amour highlighted the challenges and competition The Nation faces with other municipalities in attracting and retaining employees.