Most major jurisdictions have pay equity laws, but their approach is far from uniform. Global companies need to evaluate compliance with these laws on a country-by-country basis whilst simultaneously addressing their compensation policies globally.

A sample of the rules across several countries helps to identify trends that can drive effective global policies.

Australia

The Australian Workplace Gender Equality Act of 2012 mandates equal pay for equivalent or comparable work. There are annual reporting requirements for employers with 100 or more employees. Those reports must include the following indicators: gender composition of the workforce, gender composition of governing bodies, and equal compensation between men and women.

Employers are penalised by being publicly named if they fail to lodge a public report on time, or inform employees or other stakeholders that a public report was lodged, or give the requested compliance data under the Act.


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In a presentation at McDermott’s Employment and Employee Benefits Forum, our lawyers discuss the patchwork of state and local laws surrounding pay equity for similarly situated employees doing the same job. Particularly in California, new developments have emerged further clarifying pay equity laws. For best practices, they recommend:

  • Establishing compensation ranges across substantially similar jobs

Pay equity, the concept that gender differences should not affect compensation, is a concept easy to support, yet has been stubbornly hard to achieve. Federal law has become calcified in addressing the stubborn pay gap between men and women. State and local initiatives, along with private actors, have increasingly taken steps in the past year

The federal government’s focus on pay equity and pay data, and the passage of groundbreaking equal pay laws in a number of states, has been one of the biggest employment law developments of 2016. Litigation involving pay equity claims has also risen in the past year. Given the increased focus on pay equity from these