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Equal Pay Act

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Essay title: Equal Pay Act

Equal Pay Act

There are many laws and regulations that govern how the American work force is compensated. In most cases, the laws are set forth to protect the employee against unfair compensation practices. Many of the issues Americans face today are the same issues that existed many years ago. Issues involving labor relations, unions, and men versus women are many of the same issues we face today involving compensation. The Equal Pay Act is on of great interest to me as it covers compensation and how it relates to men and women. This act is one that many people rely heavily upon in today’s workforce.

Before explaining exactly what the Equal Pay Act is, one must understand its true meaning in today’s world. As explained by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, “The Equal Pay Act requires that men and women be given equal pay for equal work in the same establishment. The jobs need not be identical, but they must be substantially equal. It is job content, not job titles, that determines whether jobs are substantially equal” (Equal Pay…, 2006). The last sentence is particularly interesting; It is job content, not job titles… This is a way of identifying and capturing that a person is compensated not by title, rather what they do. The Act evolved from the fact that the male gender typically was paid much higher for the same job than a female.

The Equal Pay Act was introduced and enforced in 1963 by the EEOC. To take it a bit further, employers cannot pay men and women differently if job is basically the same skill, repsonsibility, and effort. Skill is defined by what skills it takes to perform the particular job. This is not to be confused with what skills a person possesses. Two people may possess many of the same skills yet one of them holds a much larger array of skills. That person is not to be compensated more to perform the same job. Effort involves what is physically or mentally required for a person to complete the job. If one task requires a great deal more physical effort, that person can be paid more than the person who is performing a task which requires little effort. Lastly, responsibility involves accountability on the job. If someone is given great responsibility, they can be compensated on a higher level. This is often why exempt employees are usually paid higher than non-exempt; the roles and responsibilities

are entirely different.

One organization known as the National Organizaiton for Women is still attempting to even out the compensation differences between men and women. According to the article Women in Red! Equal Pay Day is April 15th, the organization claims that women are still paid much lower wages than men. “According to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau statistics, women today, on average, are paid only 76 cents in wages for every dollar that men are paid. That represents a snail-like increase of less than a cent per year since the Equal Pay Act was passed in 1963, when women were paid 59 cents compared to a man's dollar in wages. If the same pace continues, we may not achieve parity until 2042!” (Women in Red…, 2003). This is an alarming statistic

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