Pay equity: “I pay women less than men”

No client has made this clear to us regarding pay equity. However, several companies offer the salary requested by candidates during selection interviews. What if you contributed to the problem?

In an American study which uses an experimental approach to examine precisely this hypothesis, Mary Rigdon concludes that the fact that women generally ask for a lower starting salary than men contributes to the observed salary gaps.[1]

Conscious or not, sexist biases in the workplace exist in Quebec. Discrimination, pay inequities and the disproportionate impacts of the health crisis on women are very real and do not stem from myth. According to the Council for the Status of Women, “ The current crisis reveals the economic vulnerability of several women and suggests more serious consequences for them. ”.[2]

As a company led and composed of daring, talented and passionate women, Iceberg Management is mobilized by the cause of gender equality and the achievement of pay equity. A first step in this direction is greatly facilitated by the Pay Equity Act, a law that we are committed to applying directly through our expert status as well as through our profession of certified human resources advisors (CRHA) .

What is the Pay Equity Act?

The law aims to eliminate gender bias and correct the injustice caused by systemic discrimination against predominantly female jobs. It consists of awarding a female job category a salary equal to that of an equivalent male job category within the company, even if these jobs are different. This law therefore allows people occupying predominantly female jobs to be paid at their fair value and to obtain compensation, in the event of a salary gap, by paying an adjustment to their salary.

Who must comply with this law?

Any business under provincial jurisdiction that has 10 or more employees, regardless of its sector of activity, is subject to the Pay Equity Act. The deadline for completing an initial exercise is assigned based on the date the business began operations and the date the business reached 10 employees. Thereafter, the employer must carry out its maintenance exercise every 5 years.

What does a pay equity exercise consist of?

  1. If necessary, create a pay equity committee or a participation process;
  2. Identify predominantly female and predominantly male job categories according to the criteria of the law;
  3. Choose a method for evaluating job categories based on four factors prescribed by law: the qualifications required, the responsibilities assumed, the efforts required and the working conditions;
  4. Calculate overall compensation;
  5. Evaluate all job categories, determine the value of each and compare them;
  6. Choose a method for estimating salary gaps and calculate salary adjustments;
  7. Determine payment terms for salary adjustments, if applicable;
  8. Create displays to communicate to employees the approach followed and the results of the exercise;
  9. Complete the DEMES (Employer’s Declaration on Pay Equity).

When you carry out your initial exercise or your maintenance of pay equity, you actively contribute to the advancement of the cause for gender equality. You eliminate stereotypes and prejudices, professional segregation and the undervaluation of female jobs within your company. Pay equity is much more than a legal obligation. Provided it is done diligently and in good faith, this exercise helps raise awareness of a deeply rooted problem in our society in addition to offering a solution to remedy it.

Do you want to be part of the solution or perpetuate the gap? We invite you not to immediately ask your consultant to correct the discrepancies, and to entrust him with the work diligently.

Are you subject to the pay equity law? You do not know where to start ? Our experts will be happy to assist you.Contact us!

[1] Rigdon, Mary. 2012. “An Experimental Investigation of Gender Differences in Wage Negotiations,” working paper, Departments of Psychology and Economics Center for Cognitive Science (RuCCS), Rutgers University.

[2] Council on the Status of Women. May 28, 2020. “Economic Impacts of the Pandemic on Women”[accessed September 28, 2020].


Julie Tardif

Sales Director, Co-founder & Partner

Approved speaker and trainer

Human resources consultant

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