Ask the ExpertCategory: QuestionsProviding Accommodation by offering a lower rate of pay
hri_Admin Staff asked 4 years ago

When providing Accommodation to an employee who requires light duties due to medical and perhaps may never return to full duties, can a lower wage be offered? For example, the employee can only dust and wipe surfaces and enough work can be offered, however does the employer have to pay the full rate of pay?

2 Answers
Glenn Demby Staff answered 4 years ago

As a general accommodations principle, I don’t believe full wage is necessarily required but there may be Human Rights, ESA and/or WCB guidelines in play that I don’t know about. Can you tell me which jurisdiction you’re in (or subject to) so I can look it up? You can contact me directly at glennd@bongarde.com or 203 354-4532 if you want to speed things up.

Melissa Sydor replied 4 years ago

The jurisdiction is British Columbia and WCB would not be relevant in this situation as the medical is due to a personal health condition.

Glenn Demby Staff answered 4 years ago

I’m back. Been out of the office and am just catching up with my backlog. I apologize for keeping you waiting and appreciate your patience. That said, I stand by my original response–but with one minor qualification.
As a matter of accommodations required under HUMAN RIGHTS LAWS, there’s no per se rule that a disabled employee be paid full wage for returning to work with modified/light duties. And as u note, since it’s not a work injury, the WCB modified duty rules don’t apply. (And even if they did, I don’t think they address the issue of full salary.)
The one potential hangup is Section 56 of the BC ESA which requires restoring employees who TAKE LEAVE to pre-leave position, deem their employment continuous and give them any raises or benefits boosts they’d have gotten if they hadn’t taken leave. HOWEVER, Section 56 applies only to pregnancy, parental, family responsibility, compassionate care, reservist duty, bereavement and jury duty leave. And from the tenor of your Q, I take it that none of this applies to the employee in your particular situation.
Hope that helps and again I’m sorry for the long long long interlude. Glenn