Fredericton — In a surprise move that is alarming many business owners, the provincial government marked International Women’s Day on Wednesday by announcing new legislation to address the wage gap between men and women. The new regulation comes into effect starting today.
Considering that women in Canada earn on average only 87¢ for each dollar that a man earns, the provincial government introduced new rules that mandate women must now leave their jobs when 87 percent of the workday is completed. So, in the case of an eight-hour work day, each woman would leave after 6.96 hours. If that workday started at 9 a.m., each woman now must leave at 3:57:36 p.m.
“We might not be able to legislate what private industry pays women,” said Labour Minister Donald Arseneault at the late afternoon press conference. “However, it is within our power to legislate the hours of work, so there’s a legal grey area where we can slide this in. The legislation also prevents employers from changing the working hours in a day just to get around this legislation. I’ve thought of everything, as usual,” he smiled.
Then Arseneault paused, turned to a male aide, and asked about missing staff. “Where did Suzanne go? Home? Marie? Claire? Them too? OK, press conference over!”
While most teachers in the province have yet to feel the impact of the new regulation due to the March Break, most other industries predict chaos and lost productivity as women begin to leave their places of work in droves near 4 p.m. today. However, no male spokesperson wanted to do an “on the record” interview on the matter.
When asked what they will do with their extra hour, most women were puzzled. “We really didn’t ask for it,” said Gen-X’er Sarah MacDonald. “I’d really just prefer to be paid fairly. Whose brain-fart was this?”