There are numerous employment discrimination laws enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and other major employment commissions in different democratic nations to ensure that citizens are protected from pay discrimination. Among them, in the United States, is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the American Disabilities Act of 1990, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1967.
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 is an amendment to the Fair Labors Standards Act prohibiting wage discrimination based on gender/sex. It emphasizes that women and men should get equal pay for equal work rendered in the same company. It doesn’t certainly mean that the jobs are identical but rather considerably equal in terms of their responsibilities and nature. There is an emphasis on the content of the job rather than the title of the job.
To establish that jobs are substantially equal, factors such as effort, skill, responsibility, establishment, and work conditions should be considered. Skills refer to the person’s education, training, and experience. The emphasis is on the skill required by the job and not necessarily the person’s skill. Even if one has a master’s degree in chemistry but works as a call center agent, it shouldn’t matter because a master’s is not a required skill for the job.
On the other hand, effort pertains to the amount of mental and physical strength exerted to do a job. Responsibility refers to the degree of a person’s accountability about the final output or the number of people handled by that person. It is only acceptable for a person with more significant responsibility and effort to receive higher compensation than those with less effort and lighter responsibilities.
Government should also establish that the employees involved are working in the same work conditions. This includes the physical surrounding such as ventilation and temperature and the risk factors of that particular workplace. The Equal Pay Act is applicable to jobs within the same company establishment or location.
U.S. Congress initially justified that sex discrimination in the workplace should be abolished because it encourages unequal opportunities for men and women, which results in antagonistic living standards, efficiency, and health for workers. Sex discrimination prevents the maximum utilization of the labor resource. It also induces a lot of labor disputes that obstruct the flow of business.
Why does the gender pay gap persist?
The gender pay gap is fixed in systemic inequalities. Girls, particularly migrant women, are overrepresented in the informal sector globally. Look around you; street vendors, coffee shop staff, domestic workers, and subsistence farmers are often ladies. They are in informal jobs that often fall outside the areas of labor laws, trapping them in low-paying, hazardous working environments without any substantial social benefits. These poor conditions for female workers immortalize the gender pay gap sadly.
Why is equal pay an urgent issue now?
Equal pay is important because it is a burning injustice and subjects millions of ladies and families to lives of established poverty and depressing opportunity gaps.
Ending the gender pay gap requires a bunch of measures that push for fair work for all people. This includes actions that promote the official formalization of the informal economy, bringing informal employees under the umbrella of effective and legal protection and empowering them to better defend their interests.
Guaranteeing workers’ right to bargain and organize collectively is an essential part of the solution. It is vital that women be involved in union and employer leadership, approving legislation that sets comprehensive frameworks for gender equality in the office.