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Refereed articles

Commentary on South Africa’s position regarding equal pay for work of equal value

Nomagugu Hlongwane examines the problem of pay discrimination among employees doing similar work. Analysing the principle of “equal pay for work of equal value”, she notes that the Constitution prohibits pay discrimination only on the grounds set out in section 9(3) of the Constitution.

The Employment Equity Act (EEA), in giving effect to the constitutional prohibition, is the direct vehicle for achieving pay equity in the workplace. South Africa is moreover a signatory to ILO Conventions advancing equal pay and the EEA must be interpreted in compliance with these Conventions. But, though ‘equal pay for work of equal value’ is explicitly recognised in the relevant Code of Good Practice and in the Public Service Act Regulations, the EEA (like the Constitution) only promotes it indirectly by way of its general prohibition of unfair discrimination. The author argues that the legislature should enact provisions directly regulating unequal remuneration for work of equal value in the EEA, including provisions for identifying “work of equal value”.

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