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Equal Pay Day highlights Bermuda disparities

Tinée Furbert, the Minister of Social Development and Seniors (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

The island’s wage disparities were highlighted this weekend as Bermuda marked the United Nations International Equal Pay Day on Saturday.

Tinée Furbert, the Minister of Social Development and Seniors, said the commemoration underscored efforts to achieving “equal pay for work of equal value”.

The UN established the day in 2019, noting the slow progress worldwide on women's economic empowerment.

The organisation cited figures that women only make 77 cents for every dollar earned globally, with 70 years estimated to close the gap.

Ms Furbert said: "Bermuda's statistics relating to pay present another story.“

The latest figures from the Department of Statistics, in the Bermuda Job Market Employment Briefs 2020, showed that in 2019 Bermudians had the lowest median gross annual income of all the groups on the island, at $60,112.

That compared with $74,548 for non-Bermudians or spouses of a Bermudian, and $65,531 for holders of permanent resident’s certificates.

She said the 2019 gross median income for Whites was $84,068, compared with $58,260 for Blacks – a gap of 31 per cent.

Disparities by race and Bermudian status persisted in those aged 65 and up.

But the gross median income of males, at $49,598, was well above that of females at $43,597.

Ms Furbert said that in 2019, the median gross annual income for females was $65,398 compared with $60,231 for males.

She added that the Bermuda 2016 Population and Housing Census Report revealed:

• The median income for Black women was $61,792 and $82,970 for White women;

• The median income of Black women with a Bachelor's degree was $80,372, while White women with a Bachelor's degree earned $95,753.

Ms Furbert said the gaps were at odds with the Human Rights Act 1981, where section 6(1)(b) forbids an employer from paying one employee less than another for substantially the same work.

"This Government wholeheartedly believes and supports that no person should be paid differently because of their gender, race, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, or national origin.

"To all employers in Bermuda, I would like to encourage you and remind you of the importance of making progressive strides to incorporate a sound pay equity framework within your organisation.“

She said “even more crucial” with the island struggling to get past the economic hit from the pandemic.

Ms Furbert reminded the public that the Human Rights Commission was in place to support them.

Questions to the HRC can be phoned in at 295-5859, e-mailed to humanrights@gov.bm, or posted to 32 Victoria Street, Hamilton HMCX.

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Published September 19, 2021 at 5:58 pm (Updated September 19, 2021 at 5:58 pm)

Equal Pay Day highlights Bermuda disparities

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