Risky salary offer at A&W

In order not to have to reduce their opening hours, many restaurants are multiplying original strategies for recruiting employees. In Greenfield Park, just south of Montreal, an A&W offers a higher hourly rate to applicants who are willing to work full-time. The idea may sound catchy, but…

Posted at 6:30am

“We’re hiring,” said the large turquoise sign on the lawn in front of the A&W on Boulevard Taschenreau. You don’t need to log in to see the salary on offer. It will be revealed immediately.

The restaurant offers $16.25 per hour for full-time employees whose hours are “Monday through Friday daytime hours” in addition to “non-flat rate” benefits. Those hired part-time are eligible for $15 instead.

I haven’t been able to figure out how effective this strategy is for filling weekday shifts when teenagers are in school. The owner of this A&W franchise did not respond to my interview request.

Certainly the idea of ​​offering full-time employees a higher rate isn’t common in the hospitality industry, “for the simple and good reason that it’s not allowed,” explains the porter. Word of the Quebec Restoration Association (ARQ), Martin Vezina.

Indeed, Section 41.1 of the Labor Standards Act (LNT) prohibits offering a different hourly rate based on the number of hours worked per week when workers perform the same tasks in the same establishment. Of course, experience or seniority can justify differences in salary between two colleagues, but not “employment status” (full-time or part-time).

The courts dealt with one such case involving Maison Simons back in the 1990s, I learned from Langlois employment lawyer Marianne Plamondon.

The Commission des normes du travail (now CNESST) had stipulated that the Quebec retailer should offer the same hourly rate to its saleswomen, regardless of their status. Simons appealed the case, arguing that he assigned specific duties to each category of salespeople. But in 1995 the Court of Appeal refused to hear his arguments and upheld the original decision.

Different responsibilities

According to Stéphan Bisson, Quebec marketing director for A&W, the salary offer from A&W of Greenfield Park would not be generalized among the brand’s 180 franchises in Quebec.

“Personnel management and recruitment is the responsibility of each operator individually. Salary policies and benefits are developed according to their management strategy. »

As for the legality of the two hourly rates advertised on the poster, the manager wrote to me after I sent him verbatim Article 41.1 of the LNTthat “the differences in salaries are related to the fact that the responsibilities and tasks vary from one employee to another”. On the phone, he assured me that inventory and orders, for example, only take place on weekdays.

If in doubt, let him be right, even if the content of the ad is questionable. And even if the panel was gone by the end of the day, Thursday.

A&W franchisees find it “difficult to stand out in the current environment,” forcing them to redouble their efforts “to try and catch the attention of potential employees,” adds Stéphan Bisson.

A common situation in the industry.

candy and fantasy

Since the pandemic began, many people who made careers in the hospitality industry have left the industry. Hence the increasing difficulty in recruiting available full-time staff.

To be attractive, more and more restaurateurs are offering group insurance, retention bonuses like “$500 after three months of work,” or tuition reimbursements, the ARQ lists. Kitchens close earlier to allow staff to finish at a reasonable time.

“There is this consideration: how can you distinguish yourself, because everyone is looking for employees. And we are fighting against other sectors, such as retirement homes, where the schedule ends prematurely,” emphasizes Martin Vézina.

Despite all the sweets and fancy in the world, restaurants are forced to close whole days or reduce their hours. Such is the case with A&W and Tim Hortons, whose success nonetheless built on the 24/7 schedule. This 24/7 service business model is becoming increasingly unsustainable for entrepreneurs. They show it for a good reason.

Consumers have to get used to that. The labor shortage forces us to be patient with less experienced and fewer employees. Not just in restaurants, but everywhere: in the shop, on the phone (have you tried calling your credit card issuer recently?), at the passport office, at the airport.

Eating your emotions will not be the solution.

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