April 10, 2018 Category: wages
April 10th is Equal Pay Day in the United States. The day is not marked to celebrate the fact that women have finally closed the gender wage gap. No, Equal Pay Day simply marks the day on which women have worked enough hours to “symbolically achieve the same pay a man earned the previous year.” In other words: Equal Pay Day is a reminder that women generally have to 16 months to earn the same amount of money a man earns in 12 months.
Actually, April 10th is only Equal Pay Day for white women. According to Equal Pay Today, black women will have to wait until August 7th to reach the milestone, while Native women will have to wait until September 7th. Latina women must wait almost an entire year to “celebrate” their Equal Pay Day: these women won’t earn as much as their male counterparts did last year until November 1st.
Reasons for the Wage Gap
How is it that men are still being paid more than women? Research shows that women are more likely to receive higher-education degrees than men, but for some reason men continue to receive superior compensation in the workplace. Why? Experts believe that there are a few primary reasons.
1. Salary History
Prior to January 1, 2018, employers in California could ask for information and details an applicant’s salary history during the hiring process. While this may seem like an objectively acceptable thing to do, it only contributed to the wage gap issue. Employers used salary history to calculate the salary that would be extended to new hires. Since men would have a history of earning more money, their offers for employment generally include higher salaries.
This is true even if a man has substantially less experience and education than a female candidate. In fact, a California woman recently used this argument in court. In a lawsuit filed against her former employer, the woman argued that she had been the victim of discrimination because salaries at her workplace were based on salary history. As it turns out, a male co-worker earned $13,000 more per year than the woman, despite the fact that she had more education and experience. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in her favor, explaining that “Pay differences based on prior salaries are discriminatory.”
2. Pregnancy & Motherhood
Women face incredible hurdles in the workplace because they have the ability to give birth. Even though such conduct is illegal, employers may be hesitant to interview, hire, or promote women in the workplace for fear of losing them to motherhood. Some employers may be afraid that women will want to spend time with their newborn children, rather than at work, which would threaten company productivity.
Even if discrimination against mothers-to-be or new moms is subconscious, it hurts women in the workplace. Research shows that mothers earn about 70 percent of what fathers earn. In fact, Equal Pay Day for moms isn’t until May 30th.
Studies have shown that men are more assertive during the hiring process and are more likely to negotiate a higher salary. The reason that this is true is not fully understood. Some argue that women are treated differently than men during negotiations, which leads to awkward situations. Women, in particular, may feel threatened or uncomfortable asking for more money from the person who is hiring her – which, in many cases, is a man.
Men hold more top-paying and executive jobs than women. Women hold far more minimum-wage and low-paying jobs than men. Women cannot be expected to close the wage gap when women are not being offered the same opportunities as men.
Demand Equal Pay
It is 2018. There is no excuse for why women should have to work an average of 4, 9, or 11 months more than a man to earn the same amount of money. If you believe that you have been the victim of unfair wage practices do not hesitate to contact an attorney for help.
At the Briski Law Firm, our California employment law attorneys can help you hold your employer accountable for unfair workplace practices. Call us today to request a free consultation. We will review your case, explain your rights, and outline the steps involved in filing a claim.