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The Health Care / Support Division Newsletter 2013

CHAIR"S REPORT – Jill McIllwraith

2013 will be a busy year for your executive

We are quickly coming to the end of our two-year term. The upcoming BPS conference in Toronto will bring our Sector together to select the next executive.

Our coordinated bargaining process is still moving forward as mandated by our members. The executive is actively involved in planning this year’s coordinated bargaining conference.

We have been monitoring the decisions handed down from arbitrators on all awards in the hospital sector. We focus on the outcomes and review contract language to ensure our units are all reaching industry standards.

Strong collective agreement language is being prepared that will reflect our sector’s needs for the future. Participants in the coordinated bargaining find this conference a useful tool for their local bargaining process.

We look forward to meeting representatives from our bargaining units at the 2013 convention caucus, BPS conference, as well as the coordinated bargaining conference.

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Pay Equity

What is Pay Equity?

Pay equity requires that women"s and men"s jobs be evaluated in a non-discriminatory way by accurately identifying and valuing the skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions of the job. Pay equity requires that female jobs be paid the same as male jobs of similar value. If a female job is paid less than a male job of similar value, pay equity requires that pay to the female job be raised to match the male job. In summary, pay equity means:

  • paying jobs usually done by women at least the same as jobs usually done by men

  • even though they are different jobs as long as the jobs are of equal or comparable value.

Why Do We Need Pay Equity?

In general, work traditionally or predominantly done by women is paid less than work traditionally or predominantly done by men regardless of the value of the work to the employer or the consumer. The more heavily women are concentrated in a job, the less it pays. This has created a significant wage gap between men and women.

Pay equity legislation works to eliminate that discrimination and close the wage gap. In 1987, the year before Ontario"s Pay Equity Act came into force, comparing average yearly full time salaries; women earned only 64 per cent of what men earned. After almost twenty years of pay equity laws, women now earn 71 per cent of what men earn.

Facts about Pay Equity

The Wage Gap:

According to Statistics Canada, women, on average earn 29 per cent less than men. This wage gap was even larger for racial minority women, aboriginal women and women with disabilities. Racial minority women, on average, earn 36 per cent less than men. Aboriginal women, on average, earn 54 per cent less than men. Women with disabilities earn significantly less than women and men without disabilities. Discriminatory wages affect women throughout their lives from their first jobs and continuing into retirement.

The Wage Gap Affecting Young Women Workers:

The wage gap affects women throughout their lives and into retirement. This wage gap widens as their careers progress. For every age group the earnings gap for women with a university degree has widened in the last decade.

  • Young women graduating from high school earn 27 per cent less than young men.

  • Young women graduating from university earn 16 per cent less than male graduates in their first jobs.

 

The Wage Gap and Poverty of Elderly Women:

Women are more likely than men to enter poverty in old age for several reasons connected to discriminatory pay.

  • 42 per cent of elderly women in Canada live in poverty.

  • The median income of older women is almost half what it is for older men.

  • A lifetime of lower wages means that women workers have less income they can save for retirement.

  • Because past wages are used to calculate pension benefits, women"s lower wages while working means women receive smaller pensions either under CPP/QPP or other pension plans.

  • Women"s current life expectancy is approaching 86 years which means they outlive men by an average of 3 years. As a result, they will have to stretch their retirement savings – which are smaller to begin with – over a longer period of time.

Pay Equity is A Poverty-Eradication Strategy:

Pay equity is closely linked to poverty eradication. One US study found that if married women were paid the same as men doing comparable work, their families" poverty rates would fall from 2.1 per cent to 0.8 per cent. If single working mothers earned as much as men doing comparable work, their poverty rates would be cut in half, from 24.3 per cent to 12.6 per cent.

Pay Equity is Good For Business:

Rewarding staff for their skills can be highly motivating; doing the opposite can create a negative impact. Employers who pay women wages that match their value can create a positive work environment. This can help to increase productivity, reduce absenteeism and sick leave, and create a positive image with their customers.

In Solidarity,

Rebecca Thomson,
Education and Communication, Sector 11 Executive

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