Equal Pay Day represents how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year. (pay-equity.org) Originated by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) in 1996, Equal Pay Day is a public awareness event to showcase the gap between men’s and women’s wages. The wage gap is even greater for most women of color. This year Equal Pay Day falls on March 14, 2023.
According to aauw.org, Women working full-time year-round are paid 84 cents and all earners are paid 77 cents for every dollar paid to men. There have been many efforts to reduce pay disparity over the years, however, the US still has a ways to go when it comes to pay equity. The issue of the pay gap affects not only a person’s ability to earn equal pay but may also negatively impact other aspects of their work such as their professional relationships, work-life balance, and their overall career experience.
Tips to Address the Gender Pay Gap
As we continue to strive for equal pay across the workplace, here are a few tips to help address the gender pay gap.
1. Increase pay transparency
While discussing money and salary with colleagues, can be considered taboo, The Paycheck Fairness Act was designed to reduce pay secrecy and help women address potential discrimination regarding pay. The Act can also help stop retaliation against professionals who decide to be transparent about their wages. The Act also aims to reduce discrimination by prohibiting companies to pay men more than women. Supporting transparency can help narrow the pay gap by up to 30%, according to the National Bureau for Economic Research. Employers can also support pay transparency by choosing to be open about salaries and compensation and ensure all their employees are paid fairly.
2. Improve access to childcare
It is not uncommon for women to have to leave the workforce in order to take care of their children due to a lack of accessible childcare. Childcare can be extremely expensive, leaving a family with the difficult decision of whether one parent should be at home with the kids. Most times it’s the woman that ends up leaving her career. Having accessible and affordable childcare would potentially help women continue their careers which would in turn help narrow the pay gap.
3. Better work-life balance
A woman’s job doesn’t just stop at the end of a workday. They continue responsibilities with their families. It can be challenging to find a balance between a demanding career and a busy family to manage. Women are often forced to reduce work hours or take on part-time jobs so they are able to focus on their personal lives. However, when an employer offers options such as flexible schedules, women may be better able to manage their careers as well as manage their family life. When women feel comfortable to make it to a doctor’s appointment or leave a little early and make up for it the next day without judgment, they can focus on their families but are also motivated to continue working hard for a company that cares about them
4. Expand family medical benefits
When it comes to family, both men and women should be equally involved if possible. This means that parental leave should be extended to both men and women so that women aren’t the only ones having to sacrifice their work hours for family-related matters. Providing equal family leave, good insurance for families, and expanding sick and medical leave for families is another way companies can address the pay gap and allow for every working member of the family to be involved in caregiving responsibilities.
5. Avoid basing pay on salary history
Women are historically paid less than men. In order to improve this potentially endless cycle, employers can stop basing employee pay salary on their pay history and instead focus on the role and the candidate’s experience to determine pay. Each position should have a salary range that they are targeting to increase pay transparency further and allow for employees to have an equal opportunity when it comes to salary.
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