TORONTO, Ont. – For the first time in five years, non-unionized city employees are getting a pay increase.

City council passed the motion Friday afternoon.

With the city in severe cut back mode, it may be difficult to understand how city council would approve a raise but, as councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong explained, it is a matter of levelling the pay field.

“We have to remember, a number of years ago when the unions were receiving increases, the non-union workers received nothing and so this is averaging that out,” said Minnan-Wong.

The pay bump comes to less than two-per cent a year for 2013 and 2014.

Councillor Minnan-Wong told 680News, the bonus feature has been changed.

“What we’ve done is said only a certain percentage of those individuals can get those bonuses. That means if you’ve identified only 20 per cent of your workers can get them, that person actually has to perform because they’re competing against their colleagues,” he explained.

Under the new structure only 20 per cent of the staff would be eligible for the maximum three-per cent pay bonus.