Pay Fair Wages.
“By July 2020: Ensure equal pay within the company. By the end of June 2021: Conduct an initial in-house equal pay analysis for a reference month between July 2020 and June 2021.” These are the first two steps resulting from the changes of 2018 of the “Federal Act on the Equality of Women and Men (Equality Act, GlG)”. And now, time’s up for delivering on the analysis. The results will very interesting, indeed.
It's the Law...
It’s not the first you have heard about the Federal Act on the Equality of Women and Men (Equality Act, GlG) and We Shape Tech had published a post about it.
Video “Closing the gender gap in Switzerland” in connection to the topic of “Charter for equal pay in the public sector”, by the Federal Office for Gender Equality – worth watching!
As of 01 July 2020, the revised Gender Equality Act (GlG) is in effect and companies with more than 100 employees have to prove that they comply with equal pay in the company. To do so, they must conduct an in-house equal pay analysis using a scientific and legally compliant method and have it reviewed by an independent body (as described in Art. 13a, 13 c and 13d GlG) by the end of June 2021. Which is now.
It’s about to get very, very interesting.
What We're Talking About
The revision aims to erase any unexplained gaps in compensation. Gaps, that cannot be explained away with professional status, education, years of service or other “hard facts” – basically things that point to a gender bias.
Let’s be very clear about this: Currently, there are up to 45.4% of unexplained and potentially discriminating salary gaps in Switzerland. Let that sink in for a moment…
The revision affects employers with 100 or more employees (not FTEs, but actual persons). Equal pay has to be ensured, regardless of the gender, for the same or equivalent work.
Needless to say, companies with under 100 employees – while not affected by this law – would still benefit to get their equal pay underway before growing accordingly. Remember: diversity will enhance what and how you do in terms of products and services and if you want your employees to be happy and stay with you, equal pay is a must from now on.
Transparency will make it easier as ever before to pick an employer that sticks to fair compensation.
1 July 2020
GlG revision and ordinance enter into effect; Implementation of the equal pay analysis
30 June 2021
End of equal pay analysis
30 June 2022
Review of the equal pay analysis by an external authority
30 June 2023
Information of employees and shareholders on the result of the equal pay analysis
Feeling impatient with this timeline? Remember that “slow and steady wins the race”.
A Question of
Decency & Fairness
Ever worked in a company that proclaims to practice diversity, puts up a rainbow-colored flag once a year, does the posters, has diverse people in their recruiting ad pictures, but when you look around you can’t refrain from thinking that it doesn’t quite look as diverse as advertized? And if you’re a woman, you’re consequently wondering how equal your pay really is?
The problem in situations like that is not that the company wants to fool people. They understand the importance of diversity or at very least think it is an image topic – well, it is, but it should be normal and not something that even needs talking about. Anyway. Wanting something and making it happen is two different things. Just because management decides something, doesn’t mean the mindset is magically changed in each and every employee, does it?
But while acceptance of people different than oneself, pushing upon the right mindset in general and a re-thinking by enough players in the field will take time, ensuring equal pay is actually as easy as pie. This can be solved, among other things, by parameters in order to leave out gender bias. Salary bands can be set to exclude any gender parameters and any HR employee can do what’s necessary to “enforce” consideration of non-gender factors when setting the salary for a position.
It’s about decency and fairness to fix unequal pay situations and not just about a company’s image. Showing that you treat your employees fairly is going to go a long way with any other stakeholder group trusting your way of handling business fairly.
An Even Bigger Problem for Tech Companies
The tech sector is not always an easy one for companies wanting to increase diversity. Some tech fields are not only dominated by men because it has been “hard to get into the boys’ club”, there are not that many women so far even trying to enter some tech fields, for whatever reason they choose not to.
Another thing factoring into the equation of why the equal pay topic complicates things for tech firms: Women are more likely than men – 32% versus 24% of the time – to start looking for a new job when they learn that they are being paid less, according to a survey by Hired.
That means it will be much harder for tech companies to retain women, while already struggling to find enough female talent in the first place.
The Good, the Bad...
Let's Hope There's No Ugly
So with the allotted time for analysis coming to conclusion, you can see how things are about to get interesting, can’t you?
While some are crossing their fingers that their good faith in their company isn’t going to be crushed by bad results, other, maybe more unhappy employees will feel confirmation of their negative feelings towards their employer if the results are bad. And some companies are going to provide a positive surprise. Admittedly, with the pay gap between genders on the rise again – women earning less than men for the same work went back up to 8.1% – it is sometimes hard to stay blue-eyed.
But the right thing to do is to stay positive and provide assistance where possible to help speed up what is still going to be a slow-creeping journey to equal pay. Be part of the solution, not the problem and in the next section we will tell you how!
If It's Broken, Fix It
How to Implement Equal Pay
We looked into how the issue can be tackled and came up with some things employers and employees can do to ensure equal pay.
Don’t show color because everybody else does and you think it is good for your image. Truly live diversity 365 days of the year. Keep driving diversity in your company – equal pay is just a part of what needs fixing. #Diversity365
If you’re a company that has concluded the analysis as an “equal-payer” and want to share with our community how you got there, feel free to hit us up and we’ll happily discuss ways to share! #SharingIsCaring
There is a free tool available in four languages called Logib, courtesy of the Federal Office for Gender Equality, and it is suitable for companies from 2-49 employees (Module 2) and from 50+ employees (Module 1). Logib is an easy to use, Excel-based program that can quickly provide a picture of the current situation.
Check out their explaining video or go directly to the modules:
Speak up for yourself and others. Ask for what you deserve and call out any unequal treatment you know about.
Studies have shown that women ask for less salary in the hiring process than men because they’ve been historically paid less and don’t receive promotions at the same rate as men. But here is what you need to remember: you have value and you bring a lot to the table. So this one’s a very easy one, dear women: ask for more.
If you’re a leader, find a way to fix any gaps within your employees’ compensation. And communicate with your team if equal pay is ensured. As soon as transparency is on the table – whether founded or not – questions will arise and some employees will feel underappreciated salary-wise. It’s good to hear that you’re being paid fairly and don’t need to worry.
If the decision is not in your hands, advocate for your people – you hired them for a reason, so step up.
If you’re an HR person, move heaven and hell to ensure parameters are gender-neutral. Do not leave anything in your salary-bands that might impact the salary based on gender. This might mean that you need to clarify what exactly “equal or equivalent work” means.
The language we use to describe something automatically forms a picture in our heads. In many cases, different job titles may denote a salary difference based not on the content of the work done, but on the sex of the jobholder. Be sure to remove any bias from job titles and descriptions, as words do indeed have power.
Disclose the salary band for a job opening – this will ensure you stay within range and make the applicant feel confident, that you do indeed have your eye on equal pay.
Be aware that asking the oh-so-typical question about current or previous salary in job interviews can perpetuate salary inequality. Don’t get tempted to pay less just because the new hire made less before. Everybody wants it cheaper, but it is not always the way to go. There’s a trap for you there… don’t step into it 😉
You’re more likely to keep within range of equal pay if you separate compensation reviews from performance reviews. The compensation needs to be gender-neutral FULL STOP. Performance reviews are relevant when you’re looking at promotions or bonuses.
And while your at it: Make sure the women in your organization have equal access to the people and opportunities that accelerate careers. Women typically receive less feedback on their performance, get fewer high-profile assignments, and have less access to mentorship and sponsorship.
Independent verification and even certification increases the pressure for consistent implementation.
Implement monitoring to keep an eye on progress and to avoid falling back into bad habits.
The Federal Office for Gender Equality also provides financial support to projects aimed at the realisation of equal pay for men and women in the sense of the Gender Equality Act. Anyone interested can check out the process information and requirements to fulfil to be eligible.