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Pay equity must be the order of the day

2013-01-17

The New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity commends the provincial government for its commitment to pay equity but maintains that the chosen methodology must be improved when applied in workplaces where there are no male-dominated jobs.

« The government must do better. It needs to work with pay equity experts and pro-equality groups if it hopes to get a realistic measure of pay equity and obtain valid and credible results for female workers», said Vallie Stearns, Chair of the Coalition for Pay Equity.

The Coalition has studied the pay equity process applied to three groups: daycare workers, home care workers and transition house workers. A government report outlining this exercise was published in June 2012.

The base salary for female-dominated jobs for 2012 was established by comparing them with two male-dominated jobs, in this case maintenance workers and foremen.  However, the maintenance worker's salary was calculated by using the 2010 average wage rate rather than 2011, and by excluding the unionized wages.

Furthermore the government did not use the real wages paid to "foremen" who are currently employed. Instead it decided that the wage would be 20% higher than the maintenance worker's salary, which resulted in a lower wage for a foreman and as a consequence, lower wages for female-dominated jobs. The decision to use a 20% wage difference between the two male-dominated jobs is not based on any study.

The results obtained using the methodology developed by the government vary from $12.52 and $14.17 per hour, which are often lower than the average salary currently paid. According to the Chair of the Coalition, the hourly wages would likely be between $4 or $5 dollars higher had the government chosen to consider other variables.

"To achieve pay equity, we would normally compare female-dominated jobs with male-dominated jobs in the same workplace", explains Vallie Stearns. "But in those workplaces where there are no male-dominated jobs, sectors such as daycare centres, homecare and transition houses for abused women, other methods must be developed. The government has experimented with a methodology, but obviously it needs some improvement. The impact on wages is critical".

The New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity presented a brief detailing its analysis of the situation to the Minister Responsible for Women's Issues, Marie-Claude Blais.

"The experience in these three sectors will serve as a model for other female workers in New Brunswick, which is why it is so important that we give serious consideration to the matter. We need reliable and adequate tools to obtain valid results in order to achieve pay equity. We also need legislation to ensure pay equity for all women working in the private sector", said Vallie Stearns, Chair of the Coalition for Pay Equity.

 

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Information:

Vallie Stearns, Chair, 857-2816 (b), 232-3742 (c)

Johanne Perron, Executive Director, 855-0002 (b), 850-6963 (c)

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Additional information

§        Pay equity is attained when wages in female-dominated jobs is equal to wages in male-dominated jobs of equal value.

§        Workers in the child care, homecare and transition house sectors are not protected by the Pay Equity Act 2009 because they are private sector workers and the Act applies only to the public sector.

Results of the pay equity programs in the child care, home support and transition house sectors

 

Current

Wages,

March 31, 2011 ($)

“Fair wage” according to  government ($)

Support worker (Child Care)

10.00

12.52

Primary Care (Child Care)

13.32

13.15

Administrative/ Primary Care (Child Care)

16.33

14.17

Home Support Workers

11.00

13.15

Crisis Intervener (Transition House)

13.37

13.40

Outreach Workers (Transition House)

19.20

13.81

Support Workers (Transition House)

15.64

13.43

  Child Support Workers (Transition House)

13.85

13.40

 

Available on line:

§  Brief prepared by the Coalition for Pay Equity (includes an executive summary):

o       Comment on the Results of the Government of New Brunswick’s Pay Equity Program for Non-Legislated Sectors

§  Rapports des programmes d’équité salariale du gouvernement:

o  Child Care Sector

o   Home Support Sector

o   Transition House Sector

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