FIQ (Fédération Interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec)

Government employee salaries: “You’re being had,” says the IRIS to healthcare professionals

Government employee salaries: “You’re being had,” says the IRIS to healthcare professionals

With the help of Eve-Lyne Couturier and François Desrochers from the Institut de recherche et d’information socioéconomique (IRIS), the Women’s Network participants discussed how systemic discrimination impacts the salary of healthcare professionals. As things stand, healthcare professionals and many workers from the health, education and public sectors are disadvantaged because they work in predominantly female sectors.

On average, female workers in these sectors are paid 24% less than other predominantly male government employee groups. What’s more, they are the only government employees whose purchasing power has gone down since the 2000s. Researchers have concluded that as an employer, the Quebec government continues to undervalue women’s work. This is one of the reasons the APTS-FIQ alliance is demanding a salary catch-up for the next collective agreement.

Not only do women deal with delays in their compensation, they also face challenges when it comes to ensuring equitable income and expense sharing with their spouses. Hélène Belleau, a researcher at the Institut national de recherche scientifique (INRS), helped Network attendees navigate the maze of love and financial responsibility.

In order for spouses to share expenses equitably, is it better to pool income or share expenses? The answer to this question depends on several factors: are their revenues similar? Do they have children? What is their marital status? Etc.

Ms. Belleau’s talk also touched on the legal protection that marriage and the family patrimony provide. In general, women have lower incomes and pay more for non-durable goods (e.g., groceries) than durable goods (e.g., mortgage), and it would be in their interest to protect themselves with marriage. Not married? A common-law contract is a good option to consider to avoid unpleasant surprises when there’s a separation or death. Regardless of your marital status, it’s important to have a will!

All in all, the key to achieving a healthy economic balance with your life partner is being able to talk openly about money. A woman with solid financial knowledge is several steps ahead of the game.

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