An adjustment in salary scales—and a pay increase, is on its way for municipal employees in La Nation.
On July 25, council approved the new salary scales following a review of all municipal salaries and responsibilities in comparison with other municipalities. The result is that La Nation’s employees will receive a pay increase of nine per cent over three years. The increases will be implemented at three per cent per year, retroactive to January 1, 2022, and concluding in 2024.
“The market is very competitive,” La Nation Clerk-Chief Administrative Officer Josée Brizard told council. She said La Nation is not only in a challenging competition with other municipalities to attract and retain employees, but also with the federal government located nearby in Ottawa.
Brizard said it is a challenge to find qualified, bilingual employees. As the largest municipality by area in Prescott and Russell counties, she said it is 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 council.
A report written by Brizard identifies that La Nation has its employees in management positions working 40 hours per week while other municipalities have their managers working 35 hours per week.
Under the new salary grids, there are 13 salary groups with group one being the lowest wages and group 13 being the highest wages for directors of departments. Each group has six different rate categories within it. The grid for firefighters is set separately and the wages for students and liquor servers are set according to the regulations of the Employment Standards Act.
Brizard said the salary grid adjustment will help meet the demand for higher wages the public and private sector are both facing as a result of high inflation. The annual cost of living increase for employees for the next four years will be negotiated after the new council takes office in 2023.
The increase will cost La Nation an estimated $238,156.15 in 2022, an estimated $195,298,98 in 2023, and an estimated $200,857.95 in 2024. The increase also applies to the municipality’s part-time firefighters. For the 2022 increase, the municipality plans to use $170,000 which was budgeted and additional funds in the water and sewer budget which had been allocated for salaries. Additional funds will also be available from municipal employment vacancies which have not been filled.
The motion to approve the adjustment to the salary scales was moved by Councillor Marie-Noëlle Lanthier and seconded by Councillor Alain Mainville.
“Members of council and Mayor, the employees are very grateful,” Brizard said, after council gave its approval.
Mayor François St-Amour remarked about the challenges and competition La Nation faces with other municipalities in attracting and retaining employees.