Q1: Is a paid lunch considered a benefit?
A1: Maybe. There is no specific definition of benefit in the Act. A paid meal break may or may not be considered a benefit depending on the circumstances. For example, a paid meal break is not likely a benefit if it is considered work time and part of the normal work week during which time employees remain subject to the employer’s control and direction.
Q2: What about mileage allowance or use of a company vehicle?
A2: Maybe. Mileage allowance or use of a company vehicle may or may not be considered a benefit. For example, if travel or transportation is required for the job, then access to mileage allowance or use of a company vehicle may be a work arrangement and not a benefit. However, if employees can have the car on weekends for personal use, it may be considered a benefit.
Q3: An employer provides an extended health benefit plan to a female job class and a different plan for the male comparator job class. Not all employees claim the full value of the benefits. Should the benefits be included in the job rate?
A3: Yes. It is the availability of benefits – not their use by individuals – that should be considered when including them into the job rate.
- What is the best way to calculate the value of benefits for the job rate?
The Act does not specify how to calculate the value of a benefit. An employer may equate the benefit to the employer’s average cost of providing the benefit, or may equalize the benefit by granting it to the job class that does not currently have it. In each case, the approach will depend on the type of benefit, funding, the existing compensation practices of the parties and finally, what course of action fits most with the purpose and intent of the Act.