Conduct a Pay Survey Each Year

All employers have to conduct a pay survey each year. The purpose is to discover, remedy and prevent unfair gender differences in pay and other terms of employment in the workplace. We explain here the legal requirements placed on a pay survey.

What are the legal requirements

As an employer, you are to use the pay survey to assess whether differences in pay between women and men who perform work that is equal or of equal value are linked to their sex. Making this assessment requires you to conduct both a survey and an analysis. The fundamental question is thus whether sex has been of significance to setting pay in any way.

You must survey and analyse:

  • provisions and practices regarding pay and other terms of employment that are applied at the workplace
  • pay differences between women and men who perform equal work
  • pay differences between groups of employees who perform work that is (or is considered to be) female dominated and another group of employees that are performing work that is regarded as equivalent to such work (but which is not or is not normally considered to be dominated by women).

Accordingly, the pay survey includes a review of the pay system itself and a review of employees' wages.

The first step concerning provisions and practices regarding pay and other terms of employment is also an area that is included in the employer's work with active measures. Within the scope of the work on the pay survey, however, it only involves surveying and analysing provisions and practices pertaining to pay on the basis of sex.

Work that is equal or of equal value

As part of your work on the pay survey, you must decide which employees are performing work that is equal or of equal value.

Employees are performing equal work if they have the same or nearly the same duties.

Work is of equal value to other work if , on the basis of an overall assessment of the requirements and nature of the work, it can be regarded as having the same value as the other work. The assessment shall take into account criteria such as knowledge and skills, responsibilities and effort. When assessing the nature of the work you have to give particular consideration to the working conditions.

The ability to assess the level of what is required for the work is dependent on conducting a structured review of the work in which it is important that you elucidate all the important requirements of the work. When assessing the level of difficulty of the work, you have to be consistent and not take into account who is performing the work. In the survey itself, this only involves looking at what the work requires and not at the qualifications of individuals.

Pay differences within and between different groups

As an employer, you have to analyse pay differences within the group equal work (i.e. between women and men who perform equal work).

Pay differences also have to be analysed between groups of employees who perform work that is dominated by women and groups of employees who perform work that is of equal value but is not or is not normally considered to be dominated by women. Work is considered to be dominated by women when the proportion of women equal to or greater than 60 per cent.

Once you have surveyed and analysed the pay differences between work of equal value, you also have to analyse any pay differences between work that is dominated by women and work with lower requirements but which still has a higher pay level. You must be able to explain objectively the reason why the work that is dominated by women still has a lower pay level, despite having higher requirements.

Document the work 

If you are an employer with a minimum of ten employees, you must also document your work on the survey and analysis.

The documentation shall contain

  • an account and evaluation of how the previous year's planned measures have been implemented
  • an account of the results of the survey and analysis
  • an account of which pay adjustments and other measures that need to be implemented in order to rectify pay differences that have a direct or indirect connection to sex
  • a calculation of costs and a time plan based on the objective that the pay adjustments that are needed will be implemented as soon as possible and no later than within three years.
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