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    Total compensation of Québec government employees: on par with the private sector but behind the other public sectors

    Montréal, November 30, 2021. – In 2021, the total compensation of Québec government employees was 9.4% lower than that of all other Québec employees working in businesses and organizations with 200 or more employees.

    Québec government employees are on a par with private sector employees. However, when compared with employees in the other public sectors (government enterprises, universities, municipalities, federal government in Québec), Québec government employees are behind by 27.5% in terms of total compensation. These are among the main findings of the 2021 edition of the report Rémunération des salariés – État et évolution comparés made public today by the Institut de la statistique du Québec.

    The calculation of total compensation takes into account salaries, non-wage benefits, and hours at work (normal working hours minus paid time off).

    Total compensation differentials between Québec government employees and other Québec employees, the private sector and the “other public” sector in 2021, 2020 and 2012

     

    Sectors compared with the Québec government Total compensation differentials
     
      2021   2020   2012  
     
      %

     
    Other Québec employees -9.4   -9.2   -6.3  
             Private sector -1.6 * -0.3 * 3.3  
              “Other public” sector -27.5   -28.3   -26.2  

    * Indicates that both sectors are on a par.
    Source: Institut de la statistique du Québec, Rémunération des salariés. État et évolution comparés 2021.

    Between 2020 and 2021, the total compensation differential between Québec government employees and other Québec employees remained stable. However, between 2012 and 2021, the comparative position of Québec government employees has become less favourable. The same findings are observed when the salaries of Québec government employees are compared to those in the private sector.

    Salaries behind in the Québec government

    When only salaries are taken into account, Québec government employees are behind all other Québec employees (-17.6%) and the private sector (-14.9%) in 2021. These gaps have widened since 2020. In comparison to other public sector employees, Québec government employees are behind by 24.5% in 2021.

    Moreover, in all cases, the salary differentials are larger in 2021 than in 2012.

    Salary differentials between Québec government employees and other Québec employees, the private sector and the “other public” sector in 2021, 2020 and 2012

     

    Sectors compared with the Québec government Salary differentials
     
      2021 2020 2012
     
      %

     
    Other Québec employees -17.6 -16.5 -11.2
             Private sector -14.9 -13.3 -7.8
             "Other public" sectors -24.5 -23.5 -19.6

    Source: Institut de la statistique du Québec, Rémunération des salariés. État et évolution comparés 2021.

    Fewer hours at work for Québec government employees

    Overall, Québec government employees are in a more favourable position for total compensation (-9.4%) than for salaries (-17.6%) in 2021 due to a shorter work week and more paid time off (vacation, sick leave, etc.).

    This is because employees in the Québec government (35.8 h) work about one and a half hours less than other Québec employees (37.4 h). In addition, leave (paid time off) represents a larger expense for the Québec government (15.7% of the salary) than for the employers of other Québec employees (14.6%) and private sector employees (13.2%).

    Base sector and reference market used for the comparison

     

    Québec government employees Other Québec employees
    (businesses with 200 or more employees)
    Public service:
    departments, government bodies, special funds

    Education

    Health and social services
    Private businesses

    “Other public” sector:
    government enterprises, universities, municipalities with populations of 25,000 or more, federal government in Québec

     

    Comparison of total compensation

    The Institut de la statistique du Québec is mandated to compare the total compensation of Québec government employees with that of other Québec employees. It must do so every year and make the results of the comparison public at the end of November.

    The objective is to compare similar jobs. This is why teachers and nurses, for example, are not included in the comparison, since the pool of comparable positions is not large enough outside the Québec government. In addition, the comparison is made with businesses with 200 or more employees or municipalities with populations of 25,000 or more, because the job structure in these businesses and organizations can be similar to that in the Québec government. Moreover, the elements used for the comparison aim to ensure relevance and objectivity and are chosen by mutual agreement between the Institut and the two negotiating parties, management and unions.


    The Institut de la statistique du Québec produces, analyzes and disseminates official, objective and quality statistical information on various aspects of Québec society. It is responsible for conducting all statistical surveys of general interest. The relevance of its work makes it a strategic ally for decision makers and all those wishing to learn more about Québec.

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