A Global Approach to Equal Pay ?️

Today, 20th November 2020,  marks UK Equal Pay Day, the day after which women effectively begin working for free. In the context of Covid-19 unemployment, increased caring demands, and greater risk to women’s health, it becomes more important than ever for companies to scrutinise and prioritise pay fairness. Equal Pay Day an opportunity to pledge a commitment to pay fairness. We should live times of crisis and challenge as we hope to in times of comfort and convenience.

Changing the way in which we work is no small feat, so we at Gapsquare believe it’s something to tackle together. For change to be long lasting and impactful, it must be approached from every angle. Lets work together towards the same goal. So, this UK Equal Pay Day, we call for international collaboration for equal pay. Our top tips for an international look at Equal Pay can help you get there.

Why does it matter?

We have seen a rise in outsourced work to developing countries, and large corporations under increased scrutiny for their treatment of employees. Stricter focus on equal pay in certain countries simply moves the underpaid and unequally paid work elsewhere, and worsens conditions for more marginalised people. Fair pay must be tackled collaboratively.

We are seeing a global approach already 

In September, we celebrated the first ever International Equal Pay Day, organised by the UN. In October, Spain implemented tight Gender Pay Gap reporting legislation, asking companies with more than 50 employees to report on their pay gap and representation figures. These announcements have spurred much needed conversations in the UK about our legislation, the postponement of the 2019 deadline for reporting, and mounting pressure for mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting.

We caught up with the Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC), who shared some insight

We’re a member of EPIC, and love the work they do.

“The gender wage gap is a complex matter that requires the will, knowledge and commitment of different stakeholders in order for it to be solved. Over the years, countries have been piloting and experimenting with different measures to reduce and eliminate the gender wage gap. Some of these measures continue to be refined and upgraded. It is therefore essential to share the knowledge, the good practices and the experiences of governments, private sector, workers’ and employers’ organisations as well as civil society and the academia to build on each other’s work to accelerate progress in this area.

This is exactly what the Equal Pay International Coalition was established for in 2017- to serve as a knowledge hub, to foster peer to peer exchanges and to provide examples of good and promising practices. Led by the ILO, UN Women and the OECD, EPIC aims to promote equal pay for work of equal value everywhere, upholding international labour standards and global commitments as identified in the 2030 agenda, for a more equal world of work.”

Gapsquare’s top tips for an international look at Equal Pay

1. Look at international audits. Don’t be intimidated by scale. If you’re an international organisation, then start off small, but aim to complete an international equal pay audit across all of the countries in which you have offices. We have a guide to help you get started.

2. Understand that while a global approach is crucial, the local context continues to matter. It’s essential to understand local context (like living wages and other equalities laws on a country by country basis) when you’re looking at Equal Pay on a global scale.

3. It’s not just about gender. Once you’ve gathered your data, looked into local legislation and equalities laws, and started looking at Equal Pay for men and women, start looks across other demographic groups. We recommend you investigate Equal Pay between different Ethnic groups, people with disabilities and across sexual orientation categories, if you have the data. You could also look at Equal Pay across intersections.

4. ‘The New Normal’ – Look at how flexible and blended working can be utilised at all levels to keep women in work. The ‘motherhood penalty’ has meant that women who need more flexibility in order to undertake unpaid care work don’t progress or develop at the rate they should. This year, how we work has shifted completely. See this as an opportunity to improve processes to ensure they work for all types of employees.

5. Take a policy approach that works practically and is embraced from the top. This is essential for anyone pledging workplace diversity and inclusion, but is even more important on an international scale.

6. Build a culture of transparency and openness around pay. The Equality and Human Rights Commission cite a lack of transparency over grading and pay as one of the key threats to unequal pay. Open communications around pay, career progression and salary structures can encourage healthier conversations and happier teams.

7. Make data your friend. Plan your Global Equal Pay Audit in stages, take stock of the data which you have already, and decide which data elements you’ll include in your analysis. Our ‘Getting Started with Equal Pay Audits’ downloadable ebook can help you with this.

How we can help

Gapsquare offer bespoke data analytics and consultancy packages to support you with all parts of an Equal Pay Audit.

We can support you with:

  • Defining your methodology
  • Organising and analysing your data
  • Interpreting results and offering recommendations for improvement