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Smashing the pay gap in three easy steps

Monday, Mar 27, 2017, by Sheryl Blythen

Simpson Grierson HR Director Jo Copeland originally published this piece on LinkedIn Over the past few weeks there has been so much media about the ridiculously large gender pay gap in New Zealand.  Turn your radio on to any channel and you'll hear so many stories of inequality. And many of them about people's experience in the public sector which frankly should be leading the charge. What you probably won't hear though are the stories of those businesses that are actually leading in this area. Those honoured for their work at the YWCA Equal Pay Awards. At Simpson Grierson we have no pay gap. That is right - 0%. And the surprising thing is that it wasn't that hard to get there. Here are three things that have made a really big difference to us and which might help other employers get to 0: First increase salary for those on parental leave while they are away. If the budgeted increase in a year is 3%, then give that to people on parental leave. 3% of 0 income costs you $0. Don't wait til they get back to review their salary. So often employers double penalise by not giving the increase while the person is away and then not giving one again until the person has been back a year to 'prove themselves' again. Do that and you are automatically 6% down in a year. Two kids = 12%. That is the standard gap in NZ right there. Secondly, audit your pay practices and report on it to the board, even if they don't ask for it. You can't argue with hard numbers. Finally, if a guy is the best person for the job and he is currently paid more than your more experienced female staff, don't not hire him because of it. We've never not hired a man because he was paid more.  But what we have done is to increase the salary of the women in the team at the same time.  An unexpected bonus for them but at least they know they are valued and don't ever think that they have to leave to get an increase. Treating people fairly pays off.

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