Created in cooperation – the employer is responsible
The employer is responsible for the equality plan
The pay survey, just like the full equality plan, is to be drawn up in cooperation with employee representatives. Ultimately it is still the employer who is responsible for the existence of the plan and the pay survey.
The employer is also responsible for the kind of pay discrimination which has not come to light during the pay survey, but which is discovered later e.g. when dealing with a case of suspected pay discrimination.
Employee participation and salary data
The representatives chosen by the employees must be guaranteed real opportunities to take part in the preparation of the pay survey and affect its contents in all the stages of the process:
- when discussing the classification/grouping used in the pay survey and what kind of salary comparisons will be carried out
- when deciding whether salaries will be presented in the survey as total salaries or according to salary components right from the early stages
- when finding out and assessing the reasons and justifications for differences in pay
- when discussing potential corrective measures, and
- when making assessments on the implementation of the measures.
According to the reasoning in the Equality Act the employee representatives who take part in the equality planning must be given sufficient information for understanding the task in hand. Therefore they must be given at least the information in line with the classification system used on the average salaries of women and men, as well as more detailed information on salaries according to salary component if required.
The Equality Act does not include regulations on the right of employee representatives who take part in the pay survey to get access to salary data for individual employees. Salaries in the public sector are public under section 7 of the Administration Act (1010/1989). Therefore salary data for individual employees may also be used when carrying out the pay survey and assessing the reasons for differences in pay, even if this data is not included in the equality plan. In the private sector the collective agreements may contain regulations on shop stewards' rights to access salary data.
The pay survey applies to all employees. Therefore the Ombudsman for Equality has stated that all employee representatives who take part in the pay survey must have access to the information they require for carrying out the survey on all personnel and employee groups (statement by the Ombudsman for Equality TAS/386/07).