Tempe’s initiative to develop a pilot program ensuring pay equity based on gender is being launched with a search for businesses wanting to be part of the campaign to certify champions of equal pay.
In April, the Tempe City Council cleared the way for staff from the city’s Office of Strategic Management and Diversity to begin developing a pilot program to get the program started.
“We want to highlight those businesses of all sizes that are already committed to equal pay and help those that want to reach this distinction,” said Rosa Inchausti, director of the Office of Strategic Management and Diversity.
“Tempe is interested in creating a business-friendly process that helps our community meet the expectation of equal pay based on gender.”
Tempe plans to work with a test group of 20 businesses of all sizes to devise a self-assessment tool that could lead each qualified employer to be showcased as an “Equal Pay Business Partner. The designation will be voluntary.
According to Tempe spokeswoman Nikki Ripley, each recognized business would be listed on the city’s website and be provided with a window decal to promote its participation in the program and its commitment to equal pay. The full city council will evaluate the results of the test group before finalizing the process.
The city will conduct more research and gather additional input from businesses to explore other paths toward achieving the equal pay partner designation.
Interested businesses are invited to participate in a focus group from 9:30 a.m. to noon Tuesday, Jan. 24, at the Tempe Public Library. Attendees will be asked to advise on the self-assessment tool, evaluate the ease of use of the online submittal form and provide additional ideas or recommendations.
To participate in the focus group, call Ginny Belousek at 480-350-8979 or email email@example.com.
In addition to the business designation, Tempe is launching training classes aimed at helping women negotiate salaries that reflect the true value of their experience, skills and education.
The free classes are part of the city’s Equal Pay initiative and are open to anyone who lives, works or studies in Tempe.
The city has partnered with the American Association of University Women to offer the workshops that are designed to help community members build confidence and skills around salary negotiation, market worth, tools of persuasion and business strategies.
The goal is to train at least 8,000 women in five years.
Each class features the same information andwill take place in the Business Resource and Innovation Center at the Tempe Public Library.
Registration for each class is required. For dates and times, visit www.tempe.gov/equalpay.
Even though the federal Equal Pay Act became law in 1963, women continue to experience wage disparities nationally, according to studies being utilized by planners. Vice Mayor Robin Arredondo-Savage and Councilmembers Lauren Kuby and David Schapira led a City Council working group that had been exploring the issue since February 2015.
The working group took substantial time to verify that the city’s own standing as an employer committed to equal pay was solid. It then worked to create a city program that would implement four pillars of pay equity simultaneously: policy; business designation; education and outreach; and training.
Tempe’s 2014 Anti-Discrimination Ordinance, which was ratified by voters and made part of the City Charter, serves as the guide for complaints in the community of alleged pay discrimination on the basis of gender.
The ordinance prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, familial status, age, disability and United States military veteran status.
Protections apply to the areas of employment at the city of Tempe and businesses in Tempe; contracts; housing; public places; and appointments to city Boards and Commissions.
For more details about the city’s equal pay initiative, visit www.tempe.gov/equalpay or call 480-350-8979.