Charities across the region are objecting to the new mandatory salary disclosure regulations being implemented by government. They say that once their staff realize just how shitty their pay is most of them will actually try and find real jobs.
The legislation, due to come into force next month, will force charities to reveal the salaries of all their employees.
“This is terrible. Now, everyone will know just how lousy our pay scale is, especially our employees. We won’t be able to hide the fact that we pay them peanuts anymore,” said Felton Snidely, the head of Metro’s largest charity, the Snidely Community Foundation. Snidely is also president of the National League of Big Honking Charities, which opposes the new law.
Snidely says that when his staff of 30 find out what they and their colleagues actually make they will begin to demand an actual living wage.
“We’ve been exploiting our staff members for years. We paid them very little, never gave them raises and offered the worst benefits we could possibly find. Most of them were oblivious to this, until now. We’re not sure what their reaction will be. Some may actually demand we pay them something that approaches minimum wage,” he said.
The legislation was created in response to complaints about huge charity CEO salaries. However, charities say that the real problem will be when everyone under the CEO finds out how they have been ripped off all these years.
“We’re not worried about how CEO salaries will look to the public,” said Dibble Brewer, CEO of the Metro Greeney Nature Trust. “I mean everyone expects people like me to make too much money. And besides, most charities have just spent the past month re-jigging their CEO salaries so that they look less gold-plated. The real problem is when my community and office workers find out I pay them less than what they would make at a fast food restaurant.”
The Trust won a recent award from the National League of Big Honking Charities for paying their workers as little as possible. The award, given in secret, noted that the Trust had been so innovative in hiding what workers make that many staffers actually thought their jobs were worthwhile and fulfilling.
“All that hard work has now been wasted because of this new law,” said Brewer.
Snidely says the law is part of a new trend that is making charities nervous.
“Up until now, the two biggest things that charities have been able to hide is the crap they pay their workers and what their overhead is. With this law, we’re seeing the end to all that is holy about charity work. It’s getting so bad that we actually might start having to be transparent about everything,” he said.
For their part, charity workers are in a state of shock about the new disclosure law.
Lorraine Tibble is an education officer at the Trust. She says she found out that instead of the nice salary she thought she was getting she actually winds up paying her employer minimum wage each year. “I was wondering where my money went. I guess I didn’t pay attention to my pay stubs. Geez.”
Furley Burley, a former accounting clerk at the Foundation, found out that she was being paid in Japanese Yen instead of Canadian dollars. “I thought I was making $56,000, but it turns out it was 56,000 Yen. That’s about $750 Canadian.”