Equal Pay Day: 1 Year, 3 Months, and 12 Days

Filed in Jobs, Workplace Rights by on April 12, 2011 4 Comments

As a growing segment of America’s workforce, women now hold nearly half of today’s jobs. Their earnings account for a significant portion of the household income that sustains the financial well-being of their families.

Almost 50 years after enactment of the Equal Pay Act, equal pay for equal work remains elusive for millions of working women. In fact, over the past 10 years, the pay gap has remained virtually unchanged. Today in America, women are paid an average of 80 cents for every dollar paid to men. The pay gap is even larger for women of color, with black women earning about 70 cents, and Latinas about 60 cents, of every dollar paid to all men.

When women start at a disadvantage, they stay at a disadvantage. Every time a woman starts a new job or tries to negotiate for a pay raise, she is starting from a lower base salary. So, the pay gap grows wider and wider over time. According to the Labor Department’s chief economist, the pay gap for the average, full-time working woman means she gets $150 less in her weekly paycheck. If she works all year, that’s $8,000 less at the end of the year and approximately $380,000 over a lifetime. That is the real cost of the pay gap.

In his 2010 State of the Union address, President Obama said he wanted to crack down on equal pay violations. As a result, he established the National Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force that comprised four federal agencies, including the Labor Department. Working together, we have identified persistent challenges to equal pay enforcement and are taking action to address each of them.

At the Labor Department, we are increasing our enforcement against employers who discriminate, leveling the playing field for those who do not, strengthening our regulatory authorities and creating opportunities for workplace flexibility so that women can make reasonable choices to care for their families without being penalized. The department’s Women’s Bureau is developing educational materials, including information to help employers identify potential wage discrimination and resources to assist employers in complying with the law. Our Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs will issue new guidance to collect better data on how workers are paid as part of our efforts to root out discrimination among federal contractors.

Equal pay is not just a women’s issue. It’s not just a family issue. It’s a recovery issue. I am committed to finding commonsense solutions to closing the pay gap once and for all so that our nation will be a more fair and equitable place for everyone.

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Comments (4)

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  1. carol murray says:

    This is as true today as it was 36 years ago went I first went to work, along with the fact that women who have been in the same job position for several years are making less than new hires, who may be male or female.

  2. Banko says:

    I am very interested in seeing the raw statistics on where this discrimination is taking place and are the women really doing the same job as their male counter parts. I have been in the work force for 40 years and have seen the opposite. The government has lowered hiring standards for women so they can qualify for jobs requiring physical skills they don’t possess. It would be nice to hold all Americans to the same standard so their color, race, physical handycap or gender did not lower hiring standards. Not everyone desirves to quailfy for a job just because they want that job. So are illegals added into this equation? If so you are misleading the american people who have the legal right to live and work in America.

  3. anonymous says:

    I can’t understand why a union office cannot pay their employee a union pay rate.

    They officers, reps.,etc are all in the same environmental workplace when in the union office. They are not at their regular environment as their regular job.
    So they share the same work environment as the employee; yet don’t pay the same for the same type duties

  4. Candy Martin says:

    I would like to find more information on harassment in the workplace.

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