Although the overall wage gap stands at 23 cents when salaries of fulltime male and female workers are compared, it varies by key factors such as industry and occupation. In fact, the wage gap is relatively tiny in some occupations and in others it is startling large. But no matter the industry and no matter the occupation, the gender wage gap persists.
Here's an interesting fact — in the federal government, the wage gap is much smaller than in the private sector. A GAO report [PDF] has estimated that the gap in wage is about 11 percent. I expect in the coming months that there will be a lot more attention on the wage gap among federal workers. Why? Because the President has a new memorandum ordering the Office of Personnel Management to submit "a Government-wide strategy to address any gender pay gap in the Federal workforce." The order states that the government-wide strategy should include analysis of the ways in which alterations to the federal government's pay scales could reduce the wage gap and directs agencies to consider ways to promote greater transparency. Read more »
Yesterday, Vermont passed a law that deals with a huge barrier to fighting workplace discrimination, punitive pay secrecy policies. Over 61 percent of private-sector workers prohibit or discourage discussions on wages amongst coworkers. Yet, comparing wages is one of the easiest ways to know if you are getting less than your due. When employees don't know how they compare to others, they may not even realize they are being paid less.
Vermont's law provides crucial elements to remove that barrier. It prevents employers from conditioning employment on an employees' promise not to disclose, inquire, or discuss their wages. Read more »
Amanda Roller was a call center employee in Kansas. After Amanda became pregnant she started experiencing morning sickness. Amanda’s supervisor repeatedly refused her requests to go the bathroom and instead told her that she would get Amanda a larger trash can so that she could vomit at her desk. Amanda asked again, and her supervisor again denied her request, saying, “We don’t pay you to pee.” Amanda was then demoted and eventually fired.
Unfortunately, Amanda is not alone. Across the country, pregnant women face discrimination in the workplace when their employers refuse to make adjustments to their job duties such as honoring lifting restrictions, allowing them to stay off high ladders, or even just letting them go to the bathroom to vomit.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) outlawed this type of discrimination in 1978 with its requirement that employers treat pregnant workers the same as those who are “similar in their ability or inability to work.” But too many lower courts have misinterpreted the PDA, holding incorrectly that it permits employers to provide accommodations to workers with disabilities or on-the-job injuries but deny those accommodations to pregnant workers. Read more »
When I was a teenager road constructions signs around my town read: “MEN WORKING.” I wrote our local newspaper outraged about the message that sends to women and girls: good-paying construction jobs are not jobs for women. Friends told me not to worry – those signs weren’t such a big deal. But the hard truth is that occupational segregation is very bad for women.
Those “MEN WORKING” signs remain a pretty darn accurate reflection of who actually works in construction. In fact, women made up the same measly percentage of workers in construction trades and related occupations in 2010 that they did in 1983 – 2.6%!
Last week we submitted comments in opposition to The Working Families Flexibility Act, the “comp time in lieu of overtime” bill that went to the House Education and the Workforce Committee’s Subcommittee on Workforce Protections for a markup last Wednesday. And now we can’t get the song “Promises, Promises” out of our heads.
You made me promises, promises You knew you'd never keep Promises, promises Why do I believe?
The Working Families Flexibility Act is filled with empty promises. Instead of providing flexibility, it would take hard-earned overtime pay out of workers’ pockets in exchange for the elusive promise of compensatory time off. While the bill’s supporters claim that there is nothing coercive about offering a comp time alternative to overtime pay, they do so against a backdrop of rampant violations of low-wage workers’ rights to overtime. In a study of low-wage workers in major cities, 76% said they worked overtime without being paid time and one-half. It is a safe bet that enacting a comp time law would give rise to a whole new category of wage and hour abuses. Read more »
I have so many current ladies on TV who I look up to professionally, but with women earning an average of only 77 cents to every dollar men earn, I had to wonder: what’s Liz Lemon’s wage gap? Once I answered that question for myself, it then lead me to wonder: Holy crap. Are ALL of my favorite working women on TV underpaid? The answer: yes. Here are my top five. Who are your TV working heroines? Who did I leave off the list? Let me know!
1. Liz Lemon, 30 Rock
The very first person I thought of when I thought about hard-working women in TV was OBVIOUSLY Liz Lemon. Girlfriend works HARD. She works extremely late, keeps crazy hours, and throws her life, heart, and soul into her work – and enjoys every single second of it. Plus, female producers/directors have median weekly earnings of $1,070; while men have median weekly earnings of $1,131. Hers wasn’t the biggest or most shocking gap on my list, but $61 per week translates to $3,172 per year – that’s an awful lot of Cheesy Blasters!
Equal Pay Day provides a moment to take stock of our progress during the 50 years since the passage of the Equal Pay Act: today more women are in the labor force, women are pursuing post-secondary education at higher rates, and the pay gap between men and women has narrowed by 18 cents.
In 1963, the typical woman working full time, year round made just 59 cents for every dollar paid to her male counterpart. The wage gap was 41 cents.
And where things stood in 2011 . . .
In another act from across the pond, Adele’s album 21topped charts around the world.
Touch-tones gave way to touch-screens. I personally joined the ranks of what many people now considered the norm: owning a smartphone. Other technology that probably sounded like sci-fi in the 1960s but was commonplace in 2011: iPads, Kindles, Roku, and so on.
In 2011, the typical woman working full time, year round made just 77 cents for every dollar paid to her male counterpart. The wage gap is 23 cents.
When you look at the way some things have changed, 1963 feels like ancient history. . Yet there wage gap is one vestige of our past that’s alive and well – five decades later. Read more »
Equal Pay Day – the day in the year when women’s wages finally catch up to men’s from the previous year – is finally here. That it took 92 days into 2013 for this day to arrive is downright depressing.
For those readers too busy working hard for 77 cents on the dollar to read our extensive policy analysis released for the occasion, here is the CliffsNotes version of what you need to know.
What’s behind the wage gap?
There are a number of factors that contribute to unfair pay for women: Some of the key culprits are discrimination resulting in lower pay for women doing the same jobs as men, occupational segregation of women into low-paying jobs that are devalued precisely because they are done by women, the economic hit that women still take for providing care to their families due to the lack of employer or government-provided paid leave and paid sick days, and racial disparities.
It's Equal Pay Day -- the day in the year when women's wages finally catch up to men's from the previous year. For the occasion, NWLC has released a number of new fact sheets explaining the persistent wage gap and its impact on women and families. You'll see that today women still make $.77 for every dollar the typical man makes. There are lots of reasons we need to close the wage gap. Among the most important: it's just not right. It's hard to say it better than Donna Summer in She Works Hard for the Money.
Summer wrote this song about Onetta, a bathroom attendant she met at a restaurant who worked for "little money, just tips for pay." Like Onetta, millions of women are still clustered in low-wage jobs working hard for little pay, with women making up nearly 2/3 of workers paid the minimum wage. Fair pay would make a world of difference to these women and their families. Read more »
As a twenty-something woman with student loan debt, I think about money A LOT. So do my friends. It’s not uncommon for one of us to ask if we can hang out at someone’s house rather than at a happy hour to save money. It used to be that when we got together, sharing tips for saving and sympathizing about financial struggles were common topics of conversation, but talking about our pay was not. That is, until one day when we decided to set discomfort aside and put numbers on the table. It turned out that one of my friends was being paid significantly less than those of us with similar job responsibilities. That discussion gave her the information – and motivation – that she needed to successfully ask for and get a raise.
When employees can’t talk to their coworkers about what they are making, they have no way of knowing if they are being paid less. The Paycheck Fairness Act will ensure that employees can discuss pay without fear of retaliation. Read more »