Do you employ women and men in similar positions? Pay equal wages (Photo: ShutterStock)
On Thursday, the largest private employers (518 employees or more) and all public employers will publish their annual report on wage gaps between men and women in the workplace.
The requirement to publish the report was first imposed last year. Many employers were shocked to discover that they had wage gaps, sometimes significant. After all, they did not intend to discriminate. However, the Equal Pay for Female and Female Workers Law does not deal with thoughts and intentions, but with results. It aims to reduce wage gaps in order to create a more equitable labor market.
The report is now expected to be published for the second time – a good opportunity to ask (and check): What happened in the past year?
Adv. Miriam Kleinberger-Ether - Partner and Head of the Labor Law Department, Erdinast, Ben Nathan, Toledano & Co. with Hamburger Evron (Photo: Eyal Tuag)
The Court addresses the issue
Recently, the Nazareth Regional Labor Court (Judge Turner and Public Representative Botansky), for the first time in Israel, approved a class action under the Equal Pay for Female and Female Employees Law.
The lawsuit was filed by an auxiliary worker at a hospital belonging to Clalit Health Services, according to the section of the law, which states that "an employee and an employee employed by the same employer at the same place of work are entitled to equal pay for the same work, essentially equal work or equivalent work."
According to the data revealed in the procedure, sanitaries and auxiliary workers in Clalit Health Services' operating rooms receive equal pay for their work during regular work hours, but in so-called "shortening of appointments," which are semi-private surgeries, the sanitary worker earns double and sometimes triple wages.
An analysis of the occupations of the two roles revealed that the sanitaire and the auxiliary worker fulfill different functions in the operating room - the sanitaire transports the patient to and from the operating room, and sometimes he is also required to assist in transferring him to the operating bed, placing him in the required position and other actions. The auxiliary worker, on the other hand, cleans the room after the operation, and prepares it for the next operation, including sterilization of the surgical tools and their organization.
Nonetheless, the court ruled that these were "equivalent" jobs – both positions did not require education or special skills; Both involve physical exertion; Both support the functioning of the operating room and the success of medical care, and include an element of responsibility, precision and working under pressure.
So why are sanitaries paid more for the exact same surgery? At this stage of the procedure, no explanation has been found other than the fact that the sanitaries are men and the auxiliary workers are women.
The Court concluded simply: "The two functions complement the medical activity in the operating room," and in this sense – they are different, but their value to the activity carried out in the workplace – is an equal value.
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Adv. Noa Bar-Shir of Erdinast, Ben Nathan, Toledano & Co. with Hamburger Evron (Photo: Eyal Tuag)
Check yourself: Do you comply with the legal requirements?
The report in which an employer is obligated by law can serve as a means of preventing such class actions. Publicly, employers are obligated to publish a report, and to provide their employees with notices, the information contained in which is very concise. But at the same time they must draw up a detailed internal report.
Employers who use the report to examine the reasons for the wage gaps created by them will reduce legal exposure to society, and at the same time correct gaps that have no real justification in terms of the value of work to society and its activities, and contribute to a more equitable labor market.
The authors: Adv. Miriam Kleinberger-Ether - partner and head of the Labor Law Department, and Adv. Noa Bar-Shir - both from Erdinast, Ben Nathan, Toledano & Co. with Hamburger Evron
- Gender discrimination