Ethnicity

Charity calls for ‘transparent pay’ to help minority groups

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Office workers in town Picture: PETER MOURANT
Office workers in town Picture: PETER MOURANT

Liberate said the disability employment gap was ‘also of concern’ and that solutions such as flexible working helped to reduce the gender-pay gap as well.

The charity made the comments when responding to a call for evidence by the Gender Pay Gap Scrutiny Review Panel, which is currently conducting a follow-up to its 2019 report to assess whether any progress had been made to close the pay gap in Jersey.

The panel asked for views on mandatory reporting of pay gaps aside from gender, such as the ethnicity pay gap, with Liberate arguing that ‘making pay transparent’ would benefit all minority groups.

Liberate explained that gender-pay-gap reporting was an ‘important tool’ for organisations to help them understand the size and cause of their own pay differential, which could also help them to develop action plans and monitor it. But the charity added later that it was a ‘blunt instrument without context for customers, employees and other stakeholders’.

A Liberate spokesperson said: ‘Unlike the UK, which has had equal-pay legislation since 1970, Jersey does not. Jersey needs to consider equal pay first. If this is not happening, then it will be accounting directly for some of the gender-pay gap. Equal pay is an easier problem to address. The gender-pay gap is much harder to solve, as there are a plethora of reasons why women do not rise to the top of organisations, yet [there] are numerous [women] at the lower levels.’

Employees need to be able to see how much other people in their organisations are being paid, Liberate said, which they explained could be achieved with an amendment to Jersey’s Employment Law.

And legislating to stop employers from asking applicants about previous remuneration ‘would also help enable women to achieve a jump in salary where a previous employer had kept their wages unreasonably low’, the charity said.

These suggestions do not require ‘any additional government manpower to implement and are not onerous on employers’, Liberate said, adding: ‘Gender-pay-gap reporting is onerous on employers and will require government officials to administer the scheme and monitor the submissions from employers. This is not necessarily a reason not to do it, but it may not be a cost-effective solution to the problem.

‘Whilst gender-pay-gap reporting encourages organisations to engage in discussions about what equality in the workplace truly means, tackling equal pay, which has not been done in Jersey, has the potential to directly impact the pay gap.’

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