Four Ways to Prevent Workers from Earning Different Pay for the Same Job
The #MeToo movement has become a very prevalent topic in the media over the last year. Gender-based wage discrimination claims are steadily climbing as employers scramble to tackle allegations.
There is still a great deal that must be done to address inequalities in the workplace, and while some companies already have a pulse on the issue, the vast majority of companies across the country need to develop a strategy to combat the pay equity discrepancy issue directly.
Despite the 1963 Equal Pay Act (EPA), strictly prohibiting “discrimination between men and women in the same establishment who perform jobs that require substantially equal skill, effort and responsibility under similar working conditions,” as laid out by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), women still find themselves making 80 cents for every dollar earned by men.
Undoubtedly, that’s a massive leap from the 59 cents for every dollar women earned back in 1963, however—the issue remains—as anything less than equal is a violation of the law.
We’ve compiled 4 ways to help your organization be proactive about pay equity discrepancies and avoid problems related to wage inequalities altogether:
Know the Law
Plain and simple, the EPA requires equal pay for equal work. The jobs need not be identical, but they must be substantially equal. Job content (not job titles) determines whether jobs are substantially equal. All forms of pay are covered by this law, including salary, overtime pay, bonuses, stock options, profit sharing and bonus plans, life insurance, vacation and holiday pay, cleaning or gasoline allowances, hotel accommodations, reimbursement for travel expenses and benefits. If there is an inequality in wages between men and women, employers may not reduce the wages of either sex to equalize their pay.
An individual alleging a violation of the EPA may go directly to court and is not required to file an EEOC charge beforehand. The time limit for filing an EPA charge with the EEOC and the time limit for going to court are the same: within two years of the alleged unlawful compensation practice or, in the case of a willful violation, within three years. The filing of an EEOC charge under the EPA does not extend the time frame for going to court.
Review Salary-Setting Practices
Organizations benefit from having published compensation guidelines, which provide a framework for the administration of compensation for employees by describing typical salary transactions and clarification of who has authority to approve salary changes. The objectives of compensation administration are the efficient maintenance of a productive workforce, equitable pay, and compliance with federal, state and local regulations.
Conduct an Annual Wage Audit
Organizations should evaluate their compensation system at least annually for potential pay disparities based on race, ethnicity and gender. The analysis should look at all forms of compensation (salary, benefits, bonuses, shift differentials, overtime, training opportunities, separation pay, etc.) In addition to an annual assessment, organizations should conduct periodic “spot checks” throughout the year to inspect for potential compensation problems.
Make Impartial Wage Decisions
Employers should consider many factors when setting employees’ pay, including the salary range for the position being filled, experience and job-related qualifications, internal equity and external market competitiveness.
Now, more than ever, employers are seeking out expert guidance to keep out of the line of fire and remain in compliance with equal pay policies.
If you’re not 100 percent sure your company is fully protected from potential pay equity discrepancies, let us help. We have the right people in place to ensure your business is safe and your people are taken care of, so contact your OneDigital representative today.
Together, we can provide peace of mind for you and your team.