SMB owner managers can foot it against the big boys in a new set of awards designed to recognise equal pay. Susan Doughty, a member of YWCA Auckland’s pay equity advisory panel, tells NZBusiness magazine the same principles behind pay equity practices apply to both large and small organisations, and suggests five simple ways companies of all sizes can lift their game.
Research and statistics report the gender pay gap is still prevalent.The June quarter 2013 New Zealand Income Survey put the median full-time hourly earnings for males at $23.67 while females received $22.34.
The inaugural YWCA Equal Pay Awards recognise best practice amongst business leaders actively addressing equal pay within their organisations. Entries are open from 1 April to 26 May.
Doughty, who is also one of the judges for the awards, says even the smallest companies can do simple things that will help them be considered for an award or at least start them on a journey towards improving their equal pay practices.
“The concept behind the awards is to start raising awareness and to recognise there’s a continuum of experience out there,” she says.
Doughty’s advice for SME owner managers:
1. Start to assess your pay rates for new hires. Compare the rates you are offering for males versus females. Are you using the same criteria?
2. Look at how you assess performance in your organisation. Are your views of performance, and your assessment criteria, gender neutral?
3. Examine your decision-making criteria for males and females when you are making salary increases.
4. Look at how people’s requests for flexibility impact on pay progression. If someone is looking for part-time work or reduced hours, for example, are they viewed differently to a full-time worker and how they might be assessed for pay progression? “Often there’s a feeling that if someone is not there all the time they’re doing a somewhat lesser job,” says Doughty. “And often, because females tend to be in that flexible work mode, that can impact on them.”
5. Think about whether any women going on maternity leave receive the same considerations as other employees in the organisation. Salary reviews conducted while women are on maternity leave provides a great example of this, says Doughty. “Are these women being considered in the reviews? A salary review is backward glancing. It’s for the work someone has done in the previous year.”
Winners of the YWCA Equal Pay Awards will be announced on 9 June. For more information, entry details and criteria, go to www.ywcapayequity.org.nz.
By Ruth Le Pla [email protected]
March 28, 2014