S. Amir Kohan

What is Pay Equity?

Pay equity is not equal access to jobs offered by an employer. This is called
employment equity, which means that women, men, and minorities have equal opportunities
when applying for jobs. Nor is pay equity the fact that a person working in company X
is being paid $2,000 less than the person of the same gender sitting nearby for exactly
the same job. This is called internal equity and is unrelated to employment equity. So,
what does pay equity mean? At first, it meant as equal pay for equal work. However, as
organizations tried to achieve pay equity, they quickly realized that it was difficult to
compare the same two jobs and their compensation since each one comprised a different
set of tasks. The difficulties experienced by organizations with this approach prompted
the government to adopt the following definition: “Equal pay for different but equivalent
work.

This change ensures that there is no sexist bias in the comparison of compensation so
that predominantly female jobs are paid equally to predominantly male jobs of equivalent
value. The change also enabled comparisons between jobs of different types but
equivalent in terms of tasks. An example of this would be to compare trade and service
jobs with clerical jobs of equivalent value.


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