We can all be allies for creating decent work
With the final recommendations of the Changing Workplaces Review coming this spring and potential changes to Ontario’s employment and labour laws, the launch of the Better Way Alliance is bringing attention to employers who are championing decent work practices such as fair wages, stable employment and paid sick days. The Better Way Alliance is made up of over 20 small businesses and nonprofits in Ontario, including ONN, calling for a good jobs strategy not only for the bottom line of their organizations, but also for the health of Ontario’s economy. The alliance believes there is a better way to build the economy and members are sharing their stories of how decent work practices are making a difference in their organizations and their communities.
Much like the small business community, the bulk of the nonprofit sector is made up of small organizations with fewer than 20 staff. And we have more in common. As Helmi Ansari, alliance member and co-founder of Grosche International in Cambridge, points out, “As a small business, the most critical part of our success is our staff. If our employees are spending all their time worrying about how they are going to pay their rent or put food on the table, they are really not going to be engaged in the long-term success of the business.”
In the nonprofit sector, we know that precarious work is on the rise and benefits like pension and extended health coverage are disappearing. But we also know that decent work enables organizations to achieve their missions because investing in our workforce improves organizational performance and ultimately saves time and money.*
When we started the decent work project in 2015, ONN was overwhelmed with the interest and engagement we received from the sector. More importantly, the decent work lens allowed us to connect so many issues and opportunities we as a sector are facing: limited pension plans, a new funding relationship with the Ontario government and private funders, employee recruitment and retention, and more.
So, we are now focused on the second phase of building a decent work movement across the Ontario nonprofit sector. Together, we can develop a shared understanding of what decent work is and how it can be measured. We can make it commonplace to have open discussions of decent work practices and processes, like the Better Way Alliance. We’ve made strides to showcase decent work in our sector, starting with our Promising Practices resources, gathered from the sector which include tools like a decent work charter and checklist.
Through the decent work framework we have started the conversation and are working with our partners in moving it forward in the sector. We have made progress with our pension work by developing a proposal for what a sector wide plan would look like, with the key elements to make it work for both employers and employees. In the coming months, we will convene a new working group on pensions implementation to help bring the proposed pensions structure towards realization.
So, how can you be an ally?
Calls to action:
– Highlight good job strategies that you encounter
– Tell us what decent work looks like in your workplace
– Join the Better Way Alliance and share key messages with your networks
– Share your commitment to decent work with your local MPP
In order to create a better and more sustainable way for our workforce, we cannot do this alone: we need the help and strength of the sector. Become an ally in the decent work discussion. Highlight good job strategies that you encounter and tell us what decent work looks like in your workplace. Together we can mobilize the nonprofit sector to act as a champion for decent work for all workers in Ontario and lead by example with a well-supported, healthy and vibrant workforce that plays a vital role in the social and economic development of our communities.
* According to the Centre for Nonprofit Management based in California, on average the costs to replace an employee costs employers 20% of the annual salary for entry to mid-level positions and up to 213% of the annual salary for highly educated executive positions.
- ONN’s Decent Work initiative
- Better Way Alliance
- A Roadmap for a Nonprofit Sector Pension Plan (Executive Summary)
- Change Work Summary Report & Promising Practices: Moving Decent Work Forward in the Not-for-Profit Sector
- The nonprofit sector as a champion of decent work, Institute for Research on Public Policy, March 2017