HOW TO TAKE A WAGE INCREASE INTO YOUR OWN HANDS
Money talks with your employer are the last thing anyone wants to do because employees tend to believe they may rock the boat.
Generally, if you get a raise from your employer it will be based on employee performance or company bonuses.
The problem is not all employers review employee performance and offer a raise or even incentives with the company.
What do you do?
You ask for it yourself.
Minimum Wage Increases
In Ontario, there are no labour laws set out that an employer must give a raise to an employee unless minimum wage increases.
That means you are not entitled to a raise from your employer at any time unless it is set out in your employment contract.
A minimum wage is the lowest amount of money an employer can pay someone who is working full-time, part-time, contract, piece-work, flat rate, salary or casual.
Ontario labour laws concentrate on one thing and that is minimum wage increases and anything above that falls on the employer IF they want to offer a raise.
Employers are not even obligated to give minimum wage workers the cost of inflation increase on a yearly basis.
Essentially, any raise given to you is at the discretion of your employer which means you have to prove to them you deserve one.
That’s a fact.
Example of calculating general minimum wage 2019
Minimum wage increases in Ontario in the Employment Standards act generally go up yearly due to inflation only unless there has been legislation to change.
- One week, Mark works 37.5 hours. He is paid on a weekly basis.
- The minimum wage in Ontario applicable to Mark is $14.00 per hour.
- Compliance with the minimum wage requirements is based on pay periods, Mark must be paid at least $525.00 (37.5 hours × $14.00 per hour = $525.00) in this work week prior to deductions.
When calculating how many hours an employee works in a week eating hours are not included since they are unpaid.
The above example is a general example of what the new minimum wage workers in Ontario will be paid on a full-time weekly basis.
For students who are 18 years of age or younger Ontario minimum wage is set differently but not far off from what general minimum wage is.
Student minimum wage: This rate applies to students under the age of 18 who work 28 hours a week or less when school is in session, or work during a school break or summer holidays.
Over the last 4 years, students have seen an increase of minimum wage from $10.70 an hour to $13.10 in 2019.
Need More Money
The general minimum wage has increased from $11.40 to $14.00 from 2016 to 2020 and even then people are still struggling to make ends meet.
It’s just not enough money to pay the bills which are forcing employees to find a second job, cash jobs or to ask their employer for a raise.
For those employees that feel they have nothing to lose or that there won’t be backlash asking for a raise, they might jump right in and set up a meeting with their boss or human resources.
Typically you’d want to meet with your boss over human resources as they are the people who make sure employment rules and regulations are being met by employees and employers.
One of the main reasons employees won’t ask for a raise is because they fear getting fired or reprimand under the table for even considering they deserve one.
I know it’s a worst-case scenario but it happens and many people have quit their jobs because they feel underappreciated and over-worked with no increase in sight.
Paying an employee minimum wage is only the minimum which means employers can give their employees a raise as they see fit, even those on salary.
Getting A Raise From An Employer
Mrs. CBB started a new career she had already negotiated a yearly salary with her employer and that was all she thought she would get until review time.
Typically employers will review employee performance once a year but some employers like to do it more than that especially if you are on a contract or on probation.
After only 3 months on the job, Mrs. CBB was called into a performance meeting that she was so worried about.
As an employee, you don’t often know if you are doing a good job or not unless your boss tells you so.
Often employees hear more about what they are doing wrong than what they are doing right so it can be terrifying going into a job review meeting.
To her surprise, the meeting went far better than expected and she was offered a 3.5% raise which she was so happy about.
She had never dreamed that her employer would offer her a raise so quickly after starting her new career.
Her employer had recognized that she was going above and beyond, working over-time and making positive changes for the company.
This sounds like a dream place to work but unfortunately, not all employers recognize their employees in such a way.
Some performance meetings are just that, about your performance and off you go.
This can be depressing for employees especially those who want to move up the ladder or for someone to say they are valued.
I believe that any employer who wants their employees to stay working for the company and know they will be an asset should reward them with a raise from time to time.
Ask For A Raise
How to ask for a raise?
To be honest, whether you are at a new job or have been working for a company for years you should not fear asking your employer for a raise.
There comes a time when you must advocate for yourself because if you don’t then you may be missing out on potential income growth in your company.
Obviously, if you are working with a union then you must abide by the rules of the union and pay hikes are generally bound by legislation.
Asking for a raise when you are in a union is probably not going to get you anywhere so I wouldn’t waste your time.
Union raises are based on an annual raise so you put in your hours and wait until the time comes that you are due for a wage increase.
If you want to ask for a raise you can do two things
- Write a letter to your employer asking for a raise backing it up with relevant information.
- Set up an in-person meeting with your employer in regards to performance and wage increase.
- You can do both set up a one to one meeting and then follow-up with a letter to back-up what you discussed in your meeting to keep it fresh in your employer’s mind.
You may think that writing a letter to your employer for a raise is the shy way out but not all employees work on premises.
With today’s technology, many employees work from home or out of the country so it’s not unheard of to ask for employee requests via email or letter.
Also, a letter may be to your benefit since it won’t put your employer on the spot if you just walk up to them with the request.
A letter gives your employer time to think about your request and how to respond to you plus you get time to do research.
Your letter is also formal documentation that you did ask to meet with them to discuss a possible wage increase. Having a paper trail or email trail is never a bad thing when you need something to fall back on.
Many employees and employers may also opt to hold meetings via conference set-ups or by using Skype which is also another option when meeting with your boss to ask for a wage increase.
However, you plan to do it make sure you do your homework first.
The last thing you want to do is not be prepared with anything more than your intent for a raise because you’ll likely be denied.
How to write a letter asking for a raise at work
Before you write your boss a letter asking for a raise there are some things you will want to review and document.
Pay Scale Research
Understand the industry you work in including the skills, knowledge, and experience you bring to the company.
This will help you get a better understanding of what others are earning when you do your salary research.
Present your desire for a salary increase either in dollars or in percentage depending on what your employer uses. You can review your PayScale to find out exactly what you should be paid.
Make The First Move
Connect with your employer via email or phone to see if you can meet to discuss your compensation.
You could say,
Could we please meet for a short discussion about my compensation and skills and knowledge I bring to the company at your discretion?
Could we discuss my salary compensation as a topic in our next meeting or performance review meeting?
Keep the email or phone call brief with an upsum of information. If your employer says no then perhaps they are not open to giving you an increase at this time.
Write a Closing letter
Crafting a letter to back up or paraphrase what you went over in your meeting whether it be on the telephone or in person.
A closing letter allows the information to stay fresh in your employers mind and he/she also has something to review when decision-making.
Follow-up with Action
Connect with your employer once you send the letter by thanking them for their time and consideration for an increase in wages.
You may also ask for their feedback on the meeting and that you look forward to their response to the meeting.
Human Resources and Raise Negotiations
Keep in mind that asking for a raise from your employer goes through channels which means that if they do consider you for one they will be in talks with human resources.
Human resources will direct your boss on the proper route to offering a raise and whether it is a viable option for the company at this time.
You might not get your response quickly so take a deep breath after going through the process and just wait.
If your employer says they can’t offer you a raise ask them what you need to do for the future so you can work on making improvements.
Sometimes not getting a raise has nothing to do with your performance but that of the financial well-being of the company.
The way I look at it, if you don’t ask, you will not receive.
Just putting the bug in your employer’s ear so they know you are working hard towards earning a raise and recognition of hard-work is better than saying nothing at all.
Sample Letter: How to ask for a raise
Your Company Name
City, Postal Code
City, Postal Code
Dear Recipient Name:
I have enjoyed working in my role as (insert title) for (Insert Company) over the past two years where I have become an integral part of the team and created increased sales for the company.
For example; In the years since starting my role with (Insert Company) I have achieved goals that have contributed to the success of our company.
- Volunteered my time at all company events and trained new staff upwards of 100 hours.
- Started a new program incentive for employees to increase their skills and knowledge of the company.
- Connected with two large manufacturers that solidified a business deal for the company.
As part of this impressive company, I hope to continue making gains and contributions in order to improve relationships with business partners, employees, and staff.
I believe I have surpassed any benchmarks set out for my role as described in my employment contract and am looking to discuss a wage increase in-line with industry pay scale standards and current performance.
Again, I enjoy the outlook of this company and growth potential and thank-you for taking the time to consider meeting with me.
I look forward to speaking with you soon.
Your Name (Signature)
After the Meeting
Once you have finished the meeting with your boss take a day to write a small email to them thanking them for their time and reiterating that you enjoy working for the company and hope he/she considers you for a wage increase.
Discussion: Have you ever asked for a raise and what was the process you went through?