Equal work for equal pay in the UAE

Equal work for equal pay in the UAE
Equal work for equal pay is now law but what exactly does this mean for employers?

What? must employers do now?

Abu Dhabi - Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan issues new Federal Law

On 25 August 2020, Federal Law No. 06 of 2020 was issued which mandated equal pay for women in the private sector; this important legislation became effective on 25 September 2020. The UAE president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan stated that: One of the misconceptions surrounding equal work for equal pay is that it only relates to the same job- so if a male and female are both Creditor Clerks, with similar experience, they should be paid the same. Yes, but what if one is a Creditors Clerk and the other is Debtors Clerk. Are both these two jobs the same?

Are they of equal value? Are they substantially the same?

This gender-based legislation is not unique to the UAE and over the years, many other countries have made it illegal to pay women less than men for comparable work- from Russia to the EU to Rwanda to South Africa- employers are legally required to compensate genders’ equally.

Given that the UAE President announced that “the procedures, controls and standards necessary for evaluating work of equal value…” are still to be announced, we will use our experience in other countries to provide employers with some guidelines and processes which should be implemented:

To identify which jobs are the same or of equal value, you must grade all positions in the organisation. Grading software has been specifically designed to immediately highlight any roles that are:
1. Identical; and
2. Similar or substantially the same

This allows you to immediately identify those roles which, independently of the individual’s filling the role, should be subject to the equal work for equal pay legislation.
Critically review the individuals/ groups of individuals within each grade to determine if the employment practices they are subjected to, can in any way be determined to infringe on their right to receive equal pay.

The legislation of most countries dictates that work performed by an employee is considered:

The same as the work of another employee if their work is identical or interchangeable.
Substantially the same as the work of another employee, if the work performed by the employees is sufficiently similar that they can reasonably be said to be performing the same job, even if their work is not identical or interchangeable.
Of the same value as the work of another employee in a different job if their respective grades are similar – for example all Paterson Grade C4 or Hay Level 15 employees should be receiving similar remuneration irrespective of their gender.

Job Grading is simply the process of using a formal system and/or methodology to determine the relative value of all jobs in the organisation, which is objective, consistent and easily defendable. The normal inputs into determining a grade include the following:

To assist our UAE clients, we have developed a cost-effective grading tool – AxioJob.

AxioJob is a cloud-based job grading system which was designed with simplicity and ease of use in mind. The system was built on the premise of empowering HR professionals to do their own job grading without having to purchase the other (more expensive) grading systems or without having to pay for external consultants, thus reducing costs.


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