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Our response to pay equity

Valérie Gagnon, Director of Human Resources and Employee Relations, would like to share the following information with the university community.

According to Quebec's pay equity law, all predominantly female job classes must be compared to predominantly male job classes, using a method of evaluation that is free of gender bias. ("Predominantly female" means that most of the employees are women, or that the job is traditionally a female one.)

The evaluation depends on four factors: the required qualifications for the job, the responsibilities assumed, the effort required, and the working conditions. If the analysis shows that women are being paid less for work of equal value, the employer must adjust the women's compensation upwards.

The pay equity law, which went into effect November 21, 1997, gives employers one year to show what measures they have taken to examine their salary scales for jobs held mainly by women, and, if necessary, make adjustments.

Concordia brought in JEP, its job evaluation program, in 1989, and will submit the program to the commission in order for its compatibility with the law on pay equity to be analyzed. Measures introduced in 1990 for librarians (a job category where most are women) will also be submitted to the commission for review.

However, Gagnon said, not every category of employee has been "JEPped." A job evaluation program must therefore be developed for the support staff in the libraries, who are mainly women.

In addition, after nearly a decade, Gagnon said, JEP itself is probably due for an overhaul. She would especially like to see the process made more transparent. "When you renovate an old house to conform to a new building code, you also use the latest windows and other materials to improve it."

A review may be done for the librarians to verify that the adjustments of 1990 are still valid. Discussions will be held with employee representatives of other Concordia job categories that, despite not being female-predominant, do not yet have a job evaluation program in place.

The law gives employers until November 21, 2000, to introduce a program where none exists, and until November 21, 2004, to proceed with adjustments if they are deemed necessary.

The report to the pay equity commission will be made available to all staff and union representatives after its deposit on November 20, 1998. A copy can be obtained by calling Judith Dawson in Human Resources, at 848-3676.

Copyright 1998 Concordia's Thursday Report.