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Survey reveals importance of accurate, timely pay – especially through COVID-19

When pay is mismanaged, breakdown in trust between employer and employee is likely


Consistent and accurate pay is an essential benefit of employment that employees would not work without, according to a new survey. (ronstik/Adobe Stock)

The foremost concern for Generation Z and Millennial employees when it comes to employment benefits is the same as previous generations: accurate and timely pay.

Results of the Canadian Payroll Association Essential Benefits Survey were released today. Conducted in April, the bilingual survey saw 1,502 Canadian workers take part.

Nearly four out of five respondents reported consistent and accurate pay to be an essential benefit of employment that they would not work without.

This result was consistent across all age demographics, with 78 per cent of Generation Z, 83 per cent of Millennials, 79 per cent of Generation X and 74 per cent of Baby Boomers identifying pay as essential.

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By comparison, health and dental benefits (61 per cent), RRSP programs and pension plans (43 per cent), flexible working arrangements (38 per cent), training and development opportunities (35 per cent), additional vacation time (30 per cent) and work perks (12 per cent) were all deemed to be essential by significantly fewer respondents.

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Employee-employer relationship

When pay is mismanaged, a breakdown in both trust and the overall relationship between employer and employee is more likely than when other benefits are similarly compromised.

Eighty-seven per cent of survey respondents said that if their pay were withdrawn, changed, frequently disrupted or compromised, they would trust their employer less or feel less valued by them. Only 36 per cent would feel this way if their work perks were withdrawn.

Even in the midst of a global pandemic, the mismanagement or cancellation of health and dental benefits, would not have the same impact (74 per cent would trust their employer less or feel less valued).

Among Millennial respondents, who make up a majority of the current workforce, 74 per cent reported that they would consider moving on from their employer and finding another job if consistent and accurate pay were not prioritized (versus an average of 66 per cent across all age groups).

“Employee turnover is expensive, time consuming and affects morale, which is why employee retention is so important,” said Peter Tzanetakis, president of the Canadian Payroll Association, in a news release. “Our research finds that investing in strong, professional payroll is one of the best ways to show employees that they, and the work they do, are valued.”

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Pandemic effect on benefits

Along with the nature of work, the pandemic has also changed how some benefits of employment are viewed by working Canadians. More than three in five Generation Z respondents reported that they place a higher importance on accurate and timely pay than they did before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, a quarter of Millennial respondents feel that work perks have decreased in importance since the start of the pandemic.

“As an employer, I’ve learned that attracting and retaining employees is critical to the health of my business. Cracking the code when it comes to younger generations can provide a real strategic advantage,” says Manjit Minhas, CEO and co-founder of Minhas Breweries, Distilleries and Wineries and a contributor on CBC Dragons’ Den. “While all benefits are important, payroll is the right of every worker and needs to be treated as such.”

The survey also revealed that overlooking consistent and accurate pay as an essential benefit has real-world consequences. Eighty per cent of respondents reported that accurate and consistent payroll gives them peace of mind.

When asked what impact would result if they did not receive their pay when expected, 52 per cent of respondents would feel more stressed and 35 per cent would struggle to meet essential financial commitments.