Equal pay for women will be secure only when its justice is adequately understood and practised by men

Employee Reward and Development

This report examines the following quotation:

Equal pay for women will be secure only when its justice is adequately understood and practised by men’ (Wedderburn, 1986). 

Equal Pay Based on UK Law

Equal pay is an element of sex discrimination law which has been in place in the UK for the last 40 years. This law gives women the right to be paid an equal amount of wages or salary to the men in their same working capacity, for equal work done.  According to this act an employer will be required to give equal pay to all workers doing a similar job, not unless an employer has a reason of paying an individual or individuals more than others and this reason should not be gender related. The law dictates that women and men must be given equal treatment in condition and terms of the contract provided by their employer if they are employed to do same job which in this case refers to work which is broadly similar, if the work is rated as same based on the job evaluation research if the work is established to be of similar value with regard to decision making, skill or effort (Equality Human Right Commission, 2011).

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However, despite of the enactment of this act over 40 years ago, there is still a substantial gender gap with regard to pay in  UK, although there have been gap narrowing like the one which happened in 3013. There are complex and many reasons given for the pay gap in the UK. Some of these reasons include the historical idea of men being perceived as the sole breadwinners in the family. Other reasons include higher value being renderedto jobs needing traditional qualities of male, the women concentration in some job roles, the women concentration in part-time roles, requirements of the children, and women missing on some work opportunity for instance promotion because of maternity leave. These excuses and many more have always been given reasons for denying women equal pay as men in their similar position in the workplace.

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Equal pay act was initially enacted in 1970. The act introduced an equality clause to serve all individuals who are employed under contract. This has the impact of changing all contract terms in order not to have different terms as the other individuals of opposite sex working in the same position. This act was in 2010 replaced by the Equality Act. This act provides women with equal pay rights for equivalent job. The new Equality Act also replaces the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act, as well as the equality provisions in the 1995 Pension Act (Equality Human Right Commission, 2011).

Step in an Organization to Ensure Equal Pay

Women have historically been paid less than men for performing equivalent or equal job. This discrimination has persisted in some regions. Although the UK government have employed a number of legislatives to fight with this problem, some companies have continuously managed to go unpunished for their discriminative acts. This has partly been due to the fact that most employees do not care to fight for their rights or due to threats of losing job as a result of making such complains. However, there is better way of ensuring that work discrimination is completely eliminated especially in such cases where the workers are protected by the law. One way to eliminate employers’ discrimination is by joining workers union. Unions assist in fighting for workers’ rights especially those defined by the law. In this case, a worker who suspect to be receiving less pay need to confirm with other workers in the same working level and confirm their pay. In case there is discrimination, the worker should report this to the union. The union will then take a role of negotiating with the employer to get the employee lost pay as well as to ensure that the pay have been equated to that of other workers in the same working level. In case the employer refuses to adhere to the law, the case can be forward by the union to the employment tribunal which will definitely employ the right legal measures or ensure that the employer complies with the law. Union is and has always been the best power to fight for employees’ rights. Thus the development of union in an organization will assist the employees in teaming up to ensure equal pay to all (Conway, n.d),

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The employees should also fight to enhance fairness and equity culture. They should also show their commitment to the payment system that is based on merit rather than other non-work related discriminative measures.  Therefore the workforce in the organization should consider on promoting a performance based culture. Moreover, the workforce should improve the value proposition to ensure that they have a position which is highly regarded in the organization.

Human resource managers can also take a role of ensuring that the organization has recognized equal abilities for all workers working in the same level, despite of their gender difference. This can be achieved by ensuring that the organization has streamlined performance process of management in which each employee performance will be monitored and recorded. In this case, the HRM will be able to prove the ability of a number of individuals in the discriminated gender and inability of a number of individuals in the gender considered to be supreme in the organization. This will also assist in developing more understood discriminative payment technique which will not be based on gender but on the merit. HRM will also develop working policies that illustrate accountability to the management, and that show alignment to strategies which are dedicated to gender equity. The policies should also improve value of the employees’ proposition, support employee engagement culture and move on to attain WGEA Employer who is regarded as an employer of choice for the citation of gender equity (Conway,n.d).

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The organisation’s board of directors also contribute to the initiative of enhancing equal pay in an organisation. The board will manage this by identifying the role of directors in overseeing and driving equal pay. They will also enhance the attainment of best practice through talent management and thus eliminating the notion of gander as the determinant of performance. The board will also focus on reducing legal cases against an organization, especially cases between the company and its employees against discrimination. Improvement of innovative thinking via engagement and diversity will also be encouraged. The above defined procedures will shift the focus from perceiving the employees based on their gender and allow the organization to focus more on individuals’ abilities. The enhancement of a social inclusive organization culture will also assist the organization to focus more on the advantages it can enjoy for the diversity rather than the problems it experiences for having women in its workforce (ACAS, 2012).

The organization executive body should also ensure their contribution to enhancement of pay equity by showing their accountability to the board, and by focusing on the enhancing the competitive edge and best practice. They should also focus on improving innovation as well as business results, promoting a higher productivity and engagement levels, enhance talent access and talent management and back an organization culture which is based on high performance. In so doing, the organisation will stop basing their discrimination on gender but on individual’s performance ability, level of innovation and creativity, ability to learn and improve him- or herself, and ability to work in a team, and to enhance problems solving in an organization. This according to Conway (n.d), does not depend on one’s gender but on one’s cognitive ability, exposure and working spirit.

Why Equal Pay is not Always Secure or Fair to An Organization

Organization always focuses on maximizing on the profit in all their operations. Unequal pay was traditionally introduced due to the notion that women have a number of household duties to accomplish and thus, they do not give similar attention to the job as men do. The equal pay Act fight against such claims and advocate for equal pay for individuals under the same job description and operation level. However, the truth is women are always surrounded with a number of family obligations and thus, they record a high number of absenteeism due to social related reasons as compared to men. These reasons range from maternity leaves, to children school and medical attention leaves. In this regard, the total amount of work done between a man and a woman in an equal work description varies greatly. Women also experiences a number of interferences while in the workplace as family members ask about household questions, or children related reporting either by the teacher or their children nurse. This demonstrates that women in the same position with a man may end up doing less as compared to the men. In this regard, the company’s benefit from a female worker may be less than that of a man working in the same position. In this regard, paying an equal salary to the two employees may be unfair to the company.

Discrimination of Pay Continues Even After the Legislative

The discriminative pay continues even after the legislative due to a number of controversies surrounding the law. Although the law give women’s right to equal pay, sometimes women may find it hard to fight for it especially if they feel that they did not offer equal participation as their male counterparts who were in the organization throughout and who dedicated all they have to the success of the company. There are other many and complex reasons which include lack of reliability for women workers. Mostly, women’s ability to work is undermined by their responsibility as wives and mothers in the family and society. Therefore, beside their bosses women have to work under the authority of their husbands and sometimes the two rules conflict, making it hard for them to be very productive. This makes it hard for them together enough courage and enough to fight for their rights.

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Equal Pay under European Social Charter

The 1961 European Social Charter ensures a number of economic and social rights. This charter was anticipated to complement the European Human Rights Convention. The charter does not contain a particular provision on non-discrimination or equal treatment. Nevertheless, the preamble states that social rights enjoyment should be protected without discrimination based on social origin, national extraction, political opinion, religion, sex, colour or race. It is also equal pay principle is also guaranteed by the Article 4(3) for a job of equal value between women and men. The Article 8 warranties the protection of the employed women’s right. Moreover, the Article 15 gives a provision for disabled individuals rights social resettlement, rehabilitation and vocational training. Unlike the Equal Pay Act which focuses fully on the payment inequality for men and women with equal working capacity and job, The European Social Charter addresses all possible discrimination that can take place in a work place, payment discrimination being part of it. Therefore, this charter also severed a great effort in ensuring the implementation of the Equal Pay Act (HRCR,  n.d).

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