Pay Registers: the Construction Commission Tightens the Screws!

The Regulation respecting the register, monthly report, notices from employers and the designation of a representative (the “Regulation”) provides that every employer in the construction industry must keep a detailed pay register on file at the employer’s place of business. In the past, the Commission de la construction du Québec  (the “Commission”) has tolerated some laxity in this regard but is now getting stricter and appears to be issuing more and more statements of offence for incomplete registers. 

Given this increasingly strict application of the Regulation, it is important to ensure that your pay register contains ALL of the following required items of information for each and every employee: 

  • employee’s name, address and social insurance number;
  • name of the job, occupation, trade or specialty carried on and the apprenticeship period;
  • for each day of work, the sector in which the work was performed;
  • exact times at which the work begins, is interrupted and ends, and the hours of work paid at regular, time-and-a-half and double-time rates;
  • nature of the work, the type of job site and where it is located;
  • wages paid and the date and method of payment;
  • amounts payable for vacations and paid holidays;
  • amounts deducted as a levy and as contributions;
  • contribution deducted from wages for complementary social benefits plans and the employer’s contributions thereto;
  • union dues deducted;
  • number of the licence held by the employer under the Building Act.

Some of the foregoing information may be recorded on time cards rather in the register itself. The cards must indicate, for each day worked, the exact times at which the work began, was interrupted and ended, and the hours of work paid at regular, time-and-a-half and double-time rates, for each job site where employees worked.

In order for the time cards to have some probative value, we suggest having them signed by the employee and the employer representative on the job site.

While the Regulation does not specify how long time cards must be kept on file, we recommend that you retain them for a minimum of three years, and ideally for five. That way you can be sure that the period within which the Commission can bring proceedings against you will have expired.

It is worth noting that the offence of having an incomplete register carries a minimum fine of $858 plus court costs, for a total of over a thousand dollars. Also noteworthy is the fact that the Commission sometimes issues a statement of offence for each employee for whom information is missing, even though there is only one incomplete register. Finally, if the missing information pertains to the number of hours worked, multiple such offences can lead to a restricted licence under the Building Act.

So protect yourself by keeping your register complete and up to date!

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