Q1: Smaller companies often use informal approaches to set wages. Are these employers expected to do job evaluations and comparisons for pay equity?
A1: Yes. Employers are required to provide pay equity for their female job classes by valuing job classes and comparing female and male job classes on the basis of skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions, using consistently applied gender neutral criteria.
The Tribunal established four tests to determine whether the valuation tool is gender neutral Ontario Nurses’ Association v. Regional Municipality of Haldimand-Norfolk, 1992 CanLII 4705 (ON PEHT):
- Can the tool determine the value of the work performed using the required factors of skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions?
- Is the choice of sub-factors free of gender bias?
- Are the levels or their equivalent, if used, free of gender bias?
- Is the composite of skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions decided in such a way that it gives value to all four factors, and is the point weighting free of gender bias?
NOTE: A job evaluation system that is applied to male job classes such as construction workers or heavy labourers in a workplace must be capable of also valuing the work done in that workplace by the female job classes such as light cleaners or secretary. The system would have to recognize the working conditions of all of the job classes and then assign the appropriate value to that factor. If a job evaluation tool was developed with only men’s jobs in mind, but was then used to value men’s and women’s jobs, the results would be gender biased because the tool would not be able to recognize and reward skills used to do traditional women’s work.
The Office receives a number of complaints each year from employees who are dissatisfied with the results of their employer’s evaluation of their jobs. The focus of the Act however is not on the evaluation of individual job classes as such; it is on whether job classes have been valued in a way that allows for comparisons to be made between female job classes and male job classes, using the four required factors.
The Act recognizes that the evaluation and comparison process can result in different outcomes. Employers develop job evaluation processes themselves or with the assistance of compensation specialists. Employers also negotiate job evaluation processes with their unions either within a collective bargaining process or separately as part of an ongoing pay equity process. As long as the valuation process is reasonable, contains the four required factors and is consistently applied for both male and female job classes, the decision of the employer or the agreement between the employer and the union will be upheld.
i. How are factors used and sub-factors chosen to value job classes?
Where the employer and /or union choose to further refine the evaluation process by dividing each of the four required factors into sub-factors, the sub-factors must measure the full range of duties and tasks of both male and female jobs and be applied consistently to both male and female jobs in the establishment.
ii. Is there a typical weighting of factors and sub-factors used by companies based on industry?
No. Employers decide the weighting of the four factors and sub-factors however, heavily weighting sub-factors that tend to favour male job classes may result in gender-biased job evaluations, which is not acceptable for pay equity.