On the website of the Sowetan newspaper –  on Sunday 23 July 2017 – it was reported that employees at South African Police Services’ (SAPS) 10111 call centre were not being paid in accordance with the Equal Pay For Equal Work doctrine which is prescribed by the Employment Equity Act (Act 55 of 1998). Hence, they went on strike.

What does the Equal Pay for Work of Equal Value doctrine mean?

In a nutshell:

  • Two employees (who are both employed by the same employer),
  • Perform the same type of work or work that can be reasonably considered to be similar,
  • May no be paid differently.

In order to determine if the two employees’ work is the same, an objective assessment needs to be undertaken of the employee’s actual duties and responsibilities.

Typically, this would involve activities such as job profiling and grading which would involve describing each aspect of a job and – after this had happened – seeing which involves jobs that can be ranked higher/lower than these.

However, cautions Natalie Singer: senior consultant at Global Business Solutions, employers should be wary of applying a blanket scenario of equal pay of work for equal value to their employees:

“Every individual has arrived at the current point in their career in a unique way, whether considering their qualification, experience, tenure or performance. Each of these factors will most likely contribute towards their remuneration, as negotiated at the point of recruitment or during annual review processes.

“And it is not against the law to differentiate. Providing the differentiation is justifiable, free from discrimination on any of the listed grounds, and in line with one of the recognised reasons set out within the legislation and Code of Good Practice. Of course, in practice these reasons may not be obvious to the individuals working in the organisation who see only job title and have a perception of the work they do and how it compares with others.

It is for this reason that businesses should ensure that they’ve created an environment that enables Equal Pay and ensures that, in the event of a complaint of this nature, investigations would yield results confirming fair treatment and differentiation on fair and justifiable grounds.”

We, at Global Business Solutions, offer comprehensive Equal Pay for Work of Equal Value course. Follow this link to learn more.


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