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Pay equity: the path to achieve fair wages. A reaction to the Council on Aging's report

2017-01-30

Moncton - The New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity sees in the Council on Aging's report an added voice to those who advocate for better wages for workers in the care-giving sector.

“Like the Council on Aging mentions, there has to be a fair wage for the care-giving sector. For us, it’s clear that fair wages are achieved through a pay equity exercise and by implementing the Liberal government’s campaign promise to review the pay equity adjustment methodology.” said Vallie Stearns-Anderson, Chair of the Coalition for Pay Equity.

In New Brunswick, there are approximately 10,000 workers, employed in private-sector care-giving services. They earn very low wages, a little more than minimum wage, with few or no benefits and pension.

“Jobs in the care giving sector are clearly predominantly female jobs. The best way to ensure that women in the sector actually receive an interesting salary is to do a credible pay equity exercise with a recognized methodology. This will ensure that women get an equitable wage compared to workers in predominantly male jobs of comparable value” continues Vallie Stearns-Anderson.

A study by economist Ruth Rose found that their equitable wages should have been between $ 20 and $ 22 an hour in 2012. These results contrasted with those of the government of the day that ranged from $ 12.50 to $ 14.80 per hour - wages spread over 5 years and thus reached in 2016-2017 only.

According to the Coalition, many acknowledge that these low wages do not correspond to the skills, responsibilities, efforts and working conditions demanded by these jobs. By recommending an “attractive wage” and salary scale based on training, certification, and evaluation, the report, We are all in this together: An Aging Strategy for New Brunswick, is part of that trend.

“As the Council on Aging report mentions on page 13, female seniors are among the most disadvantaged in our society because they have not had the same workforce opportunities as men. The Coalition therefore hopes that the provincial government will take advantage of next Tuesday's budget to eliminate this discrimination and make the necessary investments so that workers who provide important care to seniors get pay equity,” concludes Vallie Stearns-Anderson.

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