Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Five Persistent Challenges to Equal Pay

President Obama's National Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force issued a report detailing its mission, the challenges to overcome, and a gameplan for overcoming said challenges.

The five challenges are:
  1. Three different federal agencies have distinct responsibilities to enforce the laws prohibiting pay discrimination, and they do not consistently coordinate these responsibilities.
  2. The government’s ability to understand the full scope of the wage gap and to identify and combat wage discrimination can be improved by access to more data than are currently available.
  3. Employees and employers are insufficiently educated on their rights and obligations with respect to wage discrimination.
  4. The Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) has identified an eleven cent wage gap between men’s and women’s average salaries in the federal workforce.
  5. Existing laws do not always provide federal officials with adequate tools to fight wage discrimination.
(direct quotes from the report, numbers inserted and further explanatory text omitted).

While all of these challenges signal important developments for employers, as a lawyer I immediately took interest in number five. If the existing laws are not good enough, then what do they propose?

The report only includes one action item on this front: The Paycheck Fairness Act. I'll cover the details of PFA in a follow-up post. For now, suffice it to say that a push is in progress.

Posted by Philip Miles, an employment lawyer with McQuaide Blasko in State College, Pennsylvania.