Graphic designers have long complained about their paycheques and are getting some relief this year, with the government releasing a list of companies that are reducing their salaries to reflect the changing market.
The list, released Tuesday, is the result of a consultation that began in January with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).
It will be put out to industry feedback by the end of the year.
“We are not going to be making any recommendations at this point on how to reduce salaries,” said CFIB President Greg Mercer.
“We have to do it based on the evidence.
But we want to see the companies make decisions that help the industry, not the other way around.”
In its response to the list, CFIB says it will be working with other trade associations, such as the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, the Professional Engineers Association of Canada and the Canadian Association of Professional Graphic Designers (CAPG) to explore how to align their pay practices.
“The CFIB has not been able to convince the profession that the salaries for graphic designers are too high, and that the compensation for graphic design is not in line with other professions,” said Mercer.
The government also wants to see more companies reduce their costs.
CFIB calls it “a step in the right direction.”
“It’s not a big change,” said Hamilton-based graphic designer and CEO of the company, Tim Cawthon.
“It is an acknowledgement that there is a gap in the market and that we are going to have to adapt our pricing model.”
For example, companies that have to provide employees with a salary supplement, such a a salary freeze, will not be included in the salary drop.
“I think that’s a very important part of it, that people understand the cost of the compensation is what it’s really about,” said Cawtons.
“That they’re going to see it in a different way than the rest of us.”
For the time being, the government is offering a 10 per cent discount to small businesses, which are still exempt from the minimum wage.
Small business owners can also get up to a 50 per cent pay cut if they choose to use their own business plan to save money.
“That is really a small percentage of the total,” said CBJ senior vice-president of research, Catherine Cawther.
“So it doesn’t seem like it’s a huge amount of money, but it is a small dollar amount of change.”
Companies with employees on retainer, such the arts and design industries, will be exempt from any pay cut.
The CFBB also wants employers to offer their employees up to 10 hours of paid leave per year.
For smaller businesses, that could mean up to two weeks’ paid leave a year.
The department said small businesses can apply for the tax credit at a cost of $100, which is available for employers with up to 100 employees.
“These are small businesses that have not had any income for a number of years, and it’s been very difficult for them to make ends meet,” said the CFIB’s Mercer.
“This is a very small part of their business that they can benefit from.”
A spokesman for the government said that the government’s proposal is meant to provide small businesses with a small revenue stream.
“A small business can still get by on a salary of up to $60,000 and the government has also been very clear that small businesses are not a target for the large businesses that want to bring in additional staff,” said government spokesman Brian McKenna.
“What the government proposes is to help small businesses survive on a low-wage base by making it easier for small businesses to provide for their employees, so they can stay in business.”CBC Hamilton will continue to follow the paycheque story and its impact on the creative economy.
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