News & Publications

What Employers Don’t Know About Pay Equity Can Hurt Them

SHRM

Robert J. O’Hara, Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s New York office, authored an article in SHRM, titled “What Employers Don’t Know About Pay Equity Can Hurt Them.”

Following is an excerpt:

Why is pay equity all the rage, and why now? Consider the deluge of charges from politicians and pundits about massive income inequality. At one end of the range of concerns, there is growing unease about the vast wealth of the top 0.1 percent and the influence that wealth provides. At the other end, the “Fight for $15” movement to raise the federal minimum wage and related efforts is a dominant theme.

While initially focused exclusively on harassment, the #MeToo movement's attention has expanded to include gender pay equity, due to perceived power imbalances between men and women in business. Shareholder and employee activism, a well-known catalyst for corporate social responsibility on the environment and equal employment, have more recently entered the battle for fair treatment on pay.

This is not just a U.S. issue. The United Kingdom is leading the way on gender pay transparency by requiring employers with at least 250 employees to file annual pay-gap data on a government website, which is publicly accessible. The most recent data shows women are paid on average 17.3 percent less than men. This reporting concept did not go unnoticed in the U.S.