Unequal pay and the Law

There are basically two ways employers adopt when fixing the salaries of employees at the time of hire. The first way is to have a fixed list of pay per position and have the prospective employee assent to that figure at the time of signing of contract. The second way is to have the list in handy and bargain with the prospective candidate as to what he expects from his job based on his qualification, experience and bargaining skills. . This last method seems to be much more popular with foreign managements and it makes perfect bussiness sense. Instead of painting all in the same brush, it helps to have the employees upfront about their rights and expectations from the very beginning. However, reading through the relevant clauses of the labour law, if two employees are are in the same rank and yet both of them receive unequal pay then it falls under the clause of discrimination which is prohibited.

Here is the relevant subsection of the clause:
4. a) It is prohibited to discriminate amongst persons carrying out equal work
either in the granting of employment, determination of remuneration,
increase in remuneration,
provision of training, determination of conditions
and manner of employment, dismissal from employment or resolution of
other employment related matters, based on race, colour, social standing,
religion, political beliefs or affiliation with any political party, sex, marital
status, family obligations, and in so far as it does not contravene the
provisions herein age or disability.

However subsection “c” of clause 4 gives employers a way out of this binding which is quite funny and descriptive of how lawmakers always make deliberate holes in the legislation to allow for escape routes!
The relevant subsection of the clause is:

c) Sub‐section (a) does not prevent the taking into consideration of matters
such as educational qualifications required for employment, aptitude,
experience and such other matters directly related to employment.

Another important but often overlooked provision in the law is the subsection “e” which is lost on employers most of the time. However its an important provision which is designed to help unemployment and preferring national interest over others.
The relevant subsection of the clause is:

e) Any preference given to Maldivians by an employer in granting employment
shall not be deemed discrimination as provided herein.

So there shall be no discrimination of pay among workers of equal rank and if there were to be a discrimination it could be based on education, experience and and such other matters directly related to employment (which gives the game away...). And if there were to be a discrimination it could only be in favour of Maldivians because the law is explicit on this.

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