Bilingualism bonus

Please note that these questions and answers are of a general nature. For further information, please contact the person responsible for official languages in your institution.

  • 1. What is the bilingualism bonus?

    The bilingualism bonus is an annual payment of $800 paid to eligible employees with their salary. An eligible employee is one who:

    • occupies a bilingual position; and
    • has Second Language Evaluation (SLE) results confirming that he/she meets the language requirements of his position.

    Payment of the bilingualism bonus is governed by the Bilingualism Bonus Directive. The Directive is deemed to be part of collective agreements between the parties to the National Joint Council. It applies to departments and certain other sectors of the federal public administration.

    The provisions of the Directive also apply to persons not covered by collective agreements, as indicated in the Directive or in the employer’s policy. Certain groups, in particular the Executive (EX) Group, are not eligible for the bonus.

    Historical Background

    At the end of the 19th century, the federal government paid an annual supplement to employees who could write in English and in French.

    On , the Treasury Board announced, via document numbered 1967-6 to Heads of Agencies, the establishment of a differential of 7% for employees in secretarial, stenographic and typing positions requiring the use of both official languages. The effective date was identified as .

    The 1969 Official Languages Act established the language rights and obligations for service to the public. The revised Act of 1988 set out rights and obligations pertaining to language of work.

    On , the federal government issued Treasury Board Circular 1977-46, creating the bilingualism bonus plan retroactive to .

    On , the National Joint Council became responsible for the Bilingualism Bonus Directive, which is deemed part of collective agreements. The Directive was amended on , in response to the Public Service Reform Act.

  • 2. In the context of a competition, could the results of a Second Language Evaluation (SLE) affect an employee who receives the bilingualism bonus?

    Yes. SLE results are recorded in the employee's file, regardless of the circumstances. Therefore, if the results indicate that the employee no longer meets the language requirements of his current position, payment of the bonus will cease in accordance with the provisions of the Bilingualism Bonus Directive.

  • 3. What employment status must one have to be eligible for the bonus?

    Employees with the following status, who occupy a bilingual position and who have Second Language Evaluation (SLE) results confirming that they meet the language requirements of their position, are eligible for the bonus:

    Indeterminate

    • Full-time employees who receive a minimum of ten (10) days' pay in a month receive the bonus upon appointment to a bilingual position.
    • Part-time employees who work more than one-third of the normal period receive the bonus upon appointment to a bilingual position. The bonus is calculated based on the number of hours worked.

    Term

    • An individual appointed to a full-time bilingual position for a specified term exceeding three months receives the bonus from the date of appointment as long as that individual receives a minimum of ten (10) days' pay in a month.
    • An individual appointed to a part-time bilingual position for a specified term exceeding three months receives the bonus from the date of appointment. It is calculated based on the number of hours worked.
    • An individual appointed to a full-time bilingual position for a term of three months or less who remains in that or another bilingual position beyond the three-month period without a break in service receives the bonus for the period exceeding three months. The employee must receive a minimum of ten (10) days' pay in a month.
    • An individual appointed to a part-time bilingual position for a term of three months or less who remains in that or another bilingual position beyond the three-month period without a break in service receives the bonus for the period exceeding three months. The bonus is calculated based on the number of hours worked.

    Trainee

    • Trainees who take part in a training program are entitled to the bonus if they meet the basic requirements, that is, they occupy a bilingual position, have passed the SLE and receive a minimum of ten (10) days' pay in a month.
  • 4. If I am eligible for the bilingualism bonus, how is it paid to me?

    The bonus is paid with the employee's salary and is indicated separately on the pay stub.

  • 5. Does the bilingualism bonus apply to my organization?
    • The Bilingualism Bonus Directive is deemed to be part of collective agreements between the parties to the National Joint Council.
    • The bonus applies to the Public Service departments and agencies listed in Schedules I and IV of the Financial Administration Act , as well as to the National Research Council and the Medical Research Council.
    • Some federal institutions, while not subject to the Directive, have adopted its principles. They offer their employees a bonus in accordance with their own system.
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