Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses are still hiring and making employee compensation decisions. That’s why it’s important that we recognize today: March 31, 2020, as Equal Day Pay, a day that recognizes and acknowledges the income discrepancies between women and men in the workforce. As HR specialists, we know that having a difference in pay for men and women is not only illegal according to the equal pay act, but it creates an environment that can hold back amazing contributions from female staff. So wear red today for Equal Pay Day, and virtually show your support!
What is Equal Pay Day?
In the United States, Equal Pay Day symbolizes just how far women must work to “catch up” to men’s earnings from the previous year. “That to me is what is so eye-opening about the pay gap. Women must work a full quarter of the year in order to equal the same amount of compensation that men made in the previous year? It’s wild to me and the date alone really puts it into perspective when you think of it that way,” says HR Consultant Molly Bruner. It helps to raise awareness about the gender pay gap and encourages communities to take action.
According to census reports, women currently earn about 81.6 cents for each dollar earned by a man and thus need to work about 25% more time than men to make up the difference. Today, women continue to experience a persistent pay gap in nearly all sectors and industries.
Why Equal Pay Day is Important
At face value, wage conditions seem to be getting better over time. Still, women continue to face workplace hardships such as less pay than their male counterparts, fewer promotions, and exclusion.
“It’s important because it is drawing national awareness to this inequality and discrepancy in the compensation of men and women”, HR Consultant Molly says. ”Hopefully through the work and conscious efforts of many, we can move that date closer and closer to the new year until we are no longer experiencing such a pay differential.”
How HR Audits Help Business Close Their Pay Gaps
Do women get equal opportunities to grow and progress in their careers as the men in your organization? Conducting pay audits helps to identify where pay inequities exist. “HR can conduct a pay audit to determine if disparities exist, where they are and how they correct them,” our HR Consultant Jake Dufour says.
At HR NOLA, it’s our job to stay on top of changing regulations so our clients don’t have to. We conduct audits to see how their business stack up against state and federal regulations and best practices. Some of the business functions we assess include talent acquisition, total rewards, and compliance. This includes evaluating the fairness of salaries, merit increases, bonuses, and compensation. Jake advises businesses to implement policies such as not asking applicants for past pay history because it can propagate existing pay gaps.
After the audit is complete, HR NOLA can help your business develop a plan to rectify any underpaid employees, whether male or female and commit to this plan of action.
What are Steps Businesses Can Take to Achieve Equality?
Here are some ways your organization can proactively take steps to address the underlying bias against women:
Acknowledge the Gender Pay Gap. By acknowledging and caring about the gender gap, you are letting the female workforce know that they are being heard. “I think the biggest thing here is starting the conversation and acknowledging that there is a discrepancy. Once everyone acknowledges and agrees that there is this issue, we can begin to take steps in the direction of closing the gender gap,” Molly says.
Improve Pay Transparency. Putting clear and consistent criteria in place helps to reduce bias in staffing decisions and performance reviews. There’s no reason to not be transparent.
Make sure there are equal opportunities for advancement. Women tend to be promoted more slowly and paid less than men. Make sure the women in your organization have equal access to the people and opportunities that accelerate careers. Give everyone feedback on their performance, allow them access to mentorships and sponsorships and assign them high-profile assignments.
Pay audits are just one of the ways that we help our clients treat their whole staff with respect. Contact us today to set up a consultation to find out how HR can boost your business!