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Evaluating Wage Equity

June 7, 2017
The new Massachusetts Wage Equity Law, which takes effect July 1, 2018, provides an affirmative defense for employers who, within three years prior to the commencement of a complaint, have both completed a self-evaluation of its pay practices in good faith and can demonstrate that reasonable progress has been made towards eliminating wage differentials based on gender for comparable work.  
Participants in the AIM HR Roundtable participants recently discussed how companies can meet the requirements for this affirmative defense.
An employer’s self-evaluation may be of the employer’s own design, so long as it is reasonable in detail and scope considering the size of the employer, or may be consistent with standard templates or forms issued by the attorney general.  In designing a reasonable self-evaluation, the law outlines four factors for determining which positions are comparable and six factors for determining pay differentials among employees performing comparable work.  
Roundtable participants expressed several immediate concerns:
  • The need to complete a self-evaluation prior to budget planning for fiscal year 2018
  • The uncertainty of proceeding without guidance from the Attorney General’s office
  • The lack of internal resources to effectively conduct a self-evaluation
  • The inability of current HRIS and payroll systems to effectively track the 6 factors for making pay differentiations
  • The inability of current job descriptions to address the needs of a pay equity challenge
Despite these concerns, participants agreed that the time to address pay equity compliance is now. To that end, participants committed to educating senior management on the law and to identify internal team members and external partners.  AIM committed to providing additional educational opportunities, information to member company management teams, and fall workshops.  
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