Self-assessment wage equality guides

Department of Work and Human Resources Puerto Rico

On 10th August, the Department of Work and Human Resources published guides that employers can use to meet the requirements of Puerto Rico’s Wage Equality Act 16-2017 and Act 61-2017.

The guides contain recommendations and guidelines on how to eliminate gender-based wage differences; that is, they do not list rights and obligations, nor do they exempt employers from liability, if applicable, for a possible breach of article 3 of 16-2017 on wage discrimination.

Using these guides, employers can make self-assessments to determine whether they comply with the regulations on equal pay between genders. If the results of a self-assessment reveal inequality based solely on gender discrimination, they should take measures to eradicate this, without prejudice to the wage conditions of any employee.

The guides focus on three key issues: hiring, classification schemes and bonuses or other extra payments. Some of the most interesting ideas expressed are:

  • Legal non-compliance will be deemed to exist if employers investigate an employee's wage history.
  • The guides allow the employer to establish classification schemes using the minimum requirements necessary to be eligible for a job position.
  • The guide recommends that a list be made of the additional competences beyond the minimum requirements, including the monetary percentage increment for each additional skill, so that the employee’s compensation can be calculated mathematically, thus eliminating any subjective factors.
  • Provision is made for the option of creating, at the employer’s discretion, additional objective compensation that can be assessed using criteria such as production volumes, sales, earnings or quality, among others.

For these reasons, the scope of the guide goes beyond ensuring that staff receive the wages they deserve: it helps to raise productivity and, ultimately, to achieve harmony in the workplace, as explained in the introduction.