Equal Pay for Equal Work
legislation called the Pay
Equity Act to ensure that women and men
receive equal pay for performing jobs that may be very different but are
of equal value.
Standards Act, 2000 (ESA),
on the other hand, has provisions that ensure women and men receive equal
pay for performing substantially the same job. That is, they are entitled
to receive equal pay for "equal work", meaning work that is substantially
the same, requiring the same skill, effort and responsibility and
performed under similar working conditions in the same establishment.
According to the ESA,
a woman cannot be paid less than a man if she is doing "equal work." This
also applies in reverse; a man cannot receive less pay than a woman if he
is doing "equal work."
Substantially the Same Work
This means that the work is similar enough that it could reasonably be
considered to fall within the same job classification. The jobs do not
have to be identical in every respect, nor do they have to be
Substantially the Same Skill, Effort and Responsibility
Skill refers to the degree or amount of knowledge, physical, or motor
capability needed by the worker performing the job.
Effort is the physical or mental exertion needed to perform a job.
Responsibility is measured by the number and nature of a worker's job
obligations, the degree of accountability, and the degree of authority
exercised by a worker in the performance of the job.
Similar Working Conditions
Working conditions refer to such things as exposure to the elements,
health and safety hazards, workplace environment, hours of work and any
other terms or conditions of employment.
The Same Establishment
This means a location where the employer carries on business. Two or more
locations are considered a single establishment if:
they are in the same municipality;
there are common "bumping rights" for at least one employee across
When two people do substantially the same work
Andy and Kyra both work on a production
line. Kyra packs plastic spoons into small boxes, and Andy packs the
small boxes into bigger boxes. There is not anything about either of
these jobs that requires more skill, effort or responsibility.
Andy and Kyra are doing substantially the same work, and they must be
paid the same wages (unless one of the exceptions listed below
When a business has two locations
An employer owns
two clothing stores in the same city. One sells women's clothes, and
the staff are women. The other sells men's clothes, and the staff are
men. The two stores are considered one establishment under the ESA,
because they are in the same municipality.
Since the staff in both stores do substantially the same work, selling
clothes, everyone should receive the same pay.
If employees have not been paid equal pay for
equal work, steps must be taken to change this. Employers must raise wages
to achieve equal pay. They cannot lower
wages to achieve equal pay.
If a man and a woman are doing substantially the same work, they can be
paid different rates of pay if the difference is due to:
A seniority system. Under an
established seniority system, the time an employee has worked for an
employer is credited. This can be used to justify paying a more senior
employee a higher wage than a less experienced employee.
A merit system. An employee can be
paid more money or a bonus based on a system that measures the work
performance of the employees objectively.
A piecework system. An employer may
have a system that measures higher quality or quantity of work. If
this is the case, an employee can be paid a higher rate for producing
more work or better quality work if the system is applied equally to
Any difference that is not based on the gender of the employee.
For example, an employee can receive more money for working at night.
Or an employee can be paid more while participating in a well-defined
training program that has as its goal the advancement of the employee
within the organization.