Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Getting the most from your pay system

Employers must be prepared to defend their pay systems. Put a company-wide system in place so that decisions about pay are not made in a vacuum and are aligned with the company's strategic purpose. 

We suggest the use of multiple tools for pay setting: 1. "market rates" derived from salary surveys; 2. "performance pay" derived from assessing individual employees; 3. "job evaluation" ratings which provide internal equity by comparing levels of skill and responsibility across all jobs in the company.

Problems can arise when those systems are not well documented and objective - and since that information (about the tools or the salaries themselves) is usually not transparent either within or outside the company, very few people even inside the company can be sure the system is fair, objective, and has gender-neutral impact.  That factor alone explains why employers are vulnerable to lawsuits, in which a complainant can ask for more information about the process which may have resulted in large-scale inequities with regard to gender, race, etc.   "We did not intend to discriminate" is not going to be a satisfactory response.

While all those systems, presumably well documented and explained to everyone, are perfectly legal, one reason for the rising interest in job evaluation is that it has been proven as a useful and well-documented tool for identifying and eliminating gender pay inequities in Minnesota's public sector. In contrast, it appears that "the market" (often not well documented) is the primary system used. Minnesota's two public sector laws state that "compensation relationships are equitable" when "the primary consideration in negotiating, establishing, recommending, and approving compensation is comparable worth value in relationship to other employee positions within" the company.  In other words, state law requires that job evaluation (internal equity) takes precedence over salary surveys ("the market") is pay setting.  Of course exceptions are allowed for "recruitment difficulties" or "retention difficulties," when supported by facts.  

Most companies now use three systems, and that's OK if they can be documented & assessed to make sure there's no pattern of lower pay for women. But we advocate for much greater reliance on job evaluation than on salary surveys, which are more likely to import the kind of sex bias (however unintentional) that has perpetuated the earnings gap.  

Bonnie Watkins, Pay Equity Coalition of Minnesota member.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fair Pay For Women Public Policy Agenda

Vision: The gender pay gap is eliminated.

Mission: Work toward public policy that accomplishes the following:

·      Women are paid equally as men for work of comparable value.
·      Work that is traditionally “women’s work” is valued by society and paid accordingly.
·      Poverty among women and single-parent households is reduced.
·      Women make choices and learn skills that result in higher pay.

Causes of the Gender Pay Gap:

·      Societal under-valuation of women-dominated professions.
·      External comparisons of pay and job titles that perpetuate past inequities.
·      A lack of attention by employers of internal pay differentials by gender.
·      Job and educational degree segregation.
·      Non-union jobs leading to lack of employee advocacy pertaining to pay.
·      Hours worked/attachment to workforce.
·      Salary negotiation skills.
·      Lack of employer transparency in employee compensation.
·      Sex bias. Sex bias plays a role in each of the above causes, but according to the U.S. Dept. of Labor, differences between workers and their jobs explain about 60% of the pay gap, leaving 40% likely solely attributable to gender discrimination.
·      Combined sex bias and racism dramatically increases the effects of these factors on women of color and immigrant women.

Public Policy Agenda:

·      Encourage private industry to incorporate pay equity principles.
o   State contractors’ pay equity legislation.
o   State certification of “fair pay employers.”
·      Increase minimum wage.
·      Prohibit retaliation for discussion of compensation/require private employers to disclose salary range information.
·      Encourage the Minnesota Dept. of Human Rights to provide more visible support for both proactive and complaint-based efforts to enforce existing equal pay laws.
·      Affordable childcare.
·      Paid maternity and family leave.
·      Require employers to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees.
·      Appoint OESW Executive Director.
·      Legislative resolution calling upon Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.
·      Encourage women and girls to pursue STEM education and women entrepreneurs to start businesses in traditionally male industries, including STEM industries.
·      Ensure that existing opportunities for women-owned businesses through the state Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program are properly and fairly administered.
·      Provide women with training in salary negotiation skills.

·      Maintain and defend Minnesota’s state and local government pay equity laws.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

From the Governor's Blog marking State Employee Pay Equity Day of Celebration

From Governor Mark Dayton's Blog.

This is Lt. Governor Prettner-Solon presenting her remarks. Patty Tanji, President of the Pay Equity Coalition of Minnesota emceed the event. 


Tuesday, April 9, 2013



For more information:
Nina Rothchild, former Commissioner, Department of Employee Relations, hvalj@aol.com or 651-426-2535
Eliot Seide, AFSCME  - contact Jennifer.munt@afscmemn.org or 651-287-0575
Patty Tanji, Pay Equity Coalition of Minnesota , ptanji1@gmail.com or 651-271-1462


ST. PAUL, MN –  Today Minnesota put a positive spin on National Equal Pay Day by celebrating 30 years without a pay gap between women and men in state government jobs.   “Equal Pay Day symbolizes how far into 2013 women must work to earn what men earned in 2012,” said Patty Tanji, president of the Pay Equity Coalition of Minnesota.  “Nationally, women now earn 77 cents, on average, for each dollar earned by men.  It’s a little bit better in Minnesota, where the overall average is 80 cents.  But for state employees, we have had 30 years of women and men receiving equal pay for work of equal value.”

Governor Mark Dayton today signed a proclamation acknowledging equity in pay rates of male and female state employees.  Presented by Lieutenant Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon, the proclamation honors the State Employees Pay Equity Act of 1982 requiring equal pay for work of equal value. That law has now been fully implemented and maintained for 30 years.

“Thirty years ago, the people of Minnesota showed that equity and equality are not just words; they are values we live by in this state,” said Prettner Solon. “By passing the first legislation mandating equal pay for equal work, Minnesota showed the nation that we were ready to be leaders on pay equity.  We have a responsibility to ourselves and our daughters to continue working for full pay equity in Minnesota which is a critical issue for children and families across Minnesota.”
Nina Rothchild, former Minnesota Commissioner of Employee Relations (1983-1990), noted that the law passed the legislature on a bipartisan basis in 1982, unanimously in the Senate and with only 13 “no” votes in the House.  The legislation was signed by Republican Governor Al Quie.  DFL Governor Rudy Perpich, elected in the fall of that year, appointed Rothchild with instructions to “make it happen.”  No special appropriation or new staff positions were needed.  She noted the wisdom of then-Senator Linda Berglin, chief author of the law, who was known for requiring state agencies be held accountable for legislative mandates.   Employee relations are now managed by Minnesota Management and Budget, which is required by the 1982 law to submit an annual report noting any corrections needed to ensure pay equity continues.   Rothchild also noted the state law’s success led to passage of the Local Government Pay Equity Act in 1984, which covers 1,500 other government employers – cities, counties, and school districts – in Minnesota.

Eliot Seide, director of AFSCME Council 5, acknowledged the law would not have passed or been implemented without the support of the state’s largest union.  “We served on the Council on the Economic Status of Women Task Force to oversee the analysis.  We worked with every AFSCME member across the state to make sure they understood that this was not something taken away from the men but rather equalized things for the women.  And the equal pay state employees receive to this day would not have happened without both management and labor working through, every step of the way, the collective bargaining process.”

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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Media Advisory - April 9th - Celebrating 30 Years of Pay Equity In Minnesota


Tuesday, April 9 is Equal Pay Day nationally, when the average woman’s wages finally catch up to the average man’s wages in the previous year.

Minnesota will celebrate its leadership on this issue, because state-employed women have now received equal pay for 30 years.

WHAT: Proclamation of Pay Equity Day.

Press conference & party celebrating 30 years since implementation of the State Employees Pay Equity Act of 1982 (M.S. 43A.01).


9:00 – 10:00 AM

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Governor’s Reception Room, State Capitol, St Paul

WHO: Hosted by the Pay Equity Coalition of Minnesota and 12 co-sponsoring groups.

Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon will present the proclamation.

Remarks by: Nina Rothchild, Director of the Council on the Economic Status of Women (1976-1982) and Commissioner of the Department of Employee Relations (1983-1990), and

Eliot Seide, Executive Director, AFSCME Council 5, Regional Director of AFSCME (1980-1988).

Elected officials and others instrumental in passage and implementation will attend.

WHY: April 9 is Equal Pay Day nationally, when the average woman’s wages finally catch up to the average man’s wages in the previous year. But in Minnesota state government employment, pay equity has been a reality for 30 years.

Rothchild and Seide will speak to the historic, bipartisan, and ongoing work which have ensured Minnesota’s leadership.

KEY FACTS: In the general workforce, American women employed full-time and year round earned on average 77 cents for each dollar earned by their male counterparts in 2011.

Women in the general Minnesota workforce are doing slightly better, at 80 cents on the dollar. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2011 American Community Survey data.)

The State of Minnesota had about 33,000 employees in the executive branch in 2011, and just under half (49.7%) are women (Executive Branch Workforce Profile, Minnesota Management & Budget). Recent research shows that state-employed women now earn a dollar for every dollar men earn for comparable work in state service.

Available for interviews before the April 9 event:

Nina Rothchild, hvalj@aol.com or 651/426-2535
Eliot Seide - contact Jennifer.munt@afscmemn.org or 651-287-0575
Patty Tanji of PECOM, ptanji1@gmail.com or 651-271-1462

Saturday, February 23, 2013

State Employee Pay Equity Day of Celebration, April 9th, 2013

We're Celebrating! It's been 30 years since the State of Minnesota implemented the State Employee Pay Equity Act. The State of Minnesota has achieved and maintained for the past 30 years equal pay for work of equal value for men and women in state government employment. Join us at the Minnesota State Capitol, Program: 10:00 - 10:30, Cake and celebration 10:30 - 11:00. Room details tbd.