What are unjustifiable pay differences?
The salary agreements for SULF's members contain stipulations that salary is to be set individually and on justifiable grounds. For example, the state salary agreement RALS-T states: "An employee's salary is to be determined on the basis of factual grounds such as responsibility, the level of difficulty of work tasks and other requirements associated with the duties, as well as the employee's competence and results in relation to the operational objectives." Market forces can also play a part, which means that it may be justified that the salary level for similar work at other employers can be a relevant factor without there being an unjustified wage differential.
Unjustifiable salary differences can therefore be defined as differences in pay that cannot be explained by factors relevant to the tasks carried out, the competence required, performance or the conditions in a competitive labour market
Can unjustifiable pay differences be discrimination?
If there are salary differences between employees that cannot be justified by the factors listed above, there may be an unjustifiable pay difference. Both employers and trade unions have a responsibility to counteract and remedy any such pay differences, but the main responsibility rests with the employer.
The Discrimination Act obliges the employer to map salary differences between women and men annually to ensure that there are no differences attributable to gender and to remedy any that exist. In this process, the employer is to assess both equal work and work of equal value. The survey and analysis is also to include provisions and practices regarding pay and terms of employment. The salary mapping is to be conducted in collaboration with the trade unions. If salary differences are found, these are to be analysed to assess whether they are justifiable or not, i.e. whether they can be explained on factual grounds.,
It is assumed that there are no unjustifiable differences in pay that are attributable to factors other than gender, such as ethnicity, sexual orientation, age or disability.
In order for an unjustified difference in pay to fall under the prohibition of discrimination according to the law, it must be attributable to one of the grounds for discrimination that exist in the legislation and not explicable by other factual or objective reasons. It is the responsibility of the employer, through the salary setting manager, to explain on what grounds an employee has a certain salary.
What should I do if I feel that there are unfair salary differences at my workplace?
If you believe that your salary has not been set on factual or objective grounds, you should ask your manager for an explanation. You can also contact the Saco-S Association at your higher education institution or, if you work at a private institution, the SULF or Academic Association.