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Latest 'Equal Pay' Proposals Hare Brained

Media Statement Thursday, September 26th, 2002

Latest 'equal' pay scheme hare brained

The Labour Department's latest idea that employers should have to make gender-based assessments for equal pay claims based on comparisons of people doing the same work in different organizations, is way over the top.

The Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) says it's clear no one has thought about what the idea would mean.

"Everyone agrees that people doing the same work and achieving the same output should be paid on an equal basis, regardless of gender or other considerations," said Alasdair Thompson, EMA's chief executive.

"But it's ridiculous to suggest that all people doing the same work, regardless of the business or organization they work for, should be paid the same.

"Employers pay market rates. These vary substantially depending on a number of factors including the location, and an organisation's ability to pay. It's simply not possible for them all to afford the scale offered by the highest bidder.

"Under the proposals, employers honouring their present employment agreements in good faith could find they had to pay more because another employer was paying more. This is not equitable. It seems more a back door return to the old Award system of pay structure engineering than a sensible approach to developing pay equity.

"Rather than reducing business compliance costs, implementing this idea would compound them to a punitive degree."

Comments: Alasdair Thompson tel 09 367 0911 (b) 09 303 3951 (h) 0274 982 024

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