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A comparative analysis of promoting pay equity: Models and impacts

The objective of this report is to examine the costs and benefits of the promotion of pay equity through a comparative analysis of different national models. This does not mean that, in case benefits outweigh costs, this should become the main reason for promoting pay equity. Non-discrimination and equality is a human right, and as such is nonnegotiable. The issue is rather how to promote it more effectively by minimizing the costs and maximizing the benefits.This paper will proceed as follows: in section 1 we will examine the causes of pay discrimination in order to identify the problems that pay equity legislation is intended to resolve. In the light of the wide range of existing legislative models and related outcomes, and in order to better understand the costs and benefits of each model, in section 2 we develop a typology of legislative models aimed at promoting pay equity. The costs and benefits of each model are analyzed in section 3 and divided into two categories: the first is related to the costs and benefits associated with the process, while the second concerns the costs and benefits linked to the results of pay equity measures. The different costs and benefits depend on whether particular practices are in place. These will be reviewed in section 4 which will attempt to identify the œbest practices that help minimize costs and maximize benefits. Lastly, section 5 will consider an approach that is closely linked to the issues before us, namely corporate social responsibility (CSR). We will endeavour to ascertain to what extent CSR effectively encourages employers to respect the principle of equal pay for work of equal value, thereby reinforcing the role of legislation. On the basis of our findings, we will present a series of recommendations intended to enhance the effectiveness of pay equity programs.