Q: Hi Jill. I’m a fan. I got my annual performance review, and my manager, instead of utilizing what my immediate boss said, took a few minor incidents from my six-month review and slapped them on my annual review. As a result I didn’t qualify for a raise! Is a company legally bound to give you a raise based on the cost of living? This “needs improvement” rating is from a manager who’s worked with me for all of 10 hours. I talked to my immediate boss and she’ll talk to my manager but she’s asked me to find out if I’m owed a raise based on the cost-of-living angle.
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A: I’m very happy to deduce your immediate boss is as shocked as you are. I like the idea of her speaking with the manager. Just make sure you’re present at these meetings (and, if applicable, that a union rep is there). I strongly believe in recording every accomplishment at work, but also every challenge — especially regarding an issue you and your boss don’t agree on. As far as the cost-of-living angle, if you consider Ontario’s recent minimum wage “hike” to eight big bucks, well, it’s sadly pretty clear how much weight the argument carries. (Statistics Canada says someone working a 40-hour week at this new minimum would still be 20 per cent below Ontario’s cost of living.) If no raise is offered you may want to ask for a specific time line when you can revisit your raise request pending the completion of whatever terms you all negotiate. Also see www.labour.gov.on.ca, www.olrb.gov.on.caand www.labour.gov.on.ca/pec/index_pec.html. Good luck!