States Push Pay Reporting Requirements in Effort to Ensure Pay Equity

Do you ever wonder if your salary is the same as a coworker doing the same or similar job? How would you find out? Would you come right out and ask the coworker how much they make? Probably not. Most people wouldn’t feel comfortable talking about how much they make with their coworkers. Discussing salary at work can be problematic. Conversations can evoke feelings of jealousy, unfairness, and inequity among co-workers. There is a long-standing history of not openly discussing salaries in the workplace. It has been seen as a taboo topic based on unspoken rules from employers. However, federal law prohibits employers from demanding pay confidentiality from employees. So, again, we ask, “How would you discover the salaries of your coworkers if you wanted to know?” Would you use your sleuthing skills ─after all you do work in a library/information environment─ to research the salaries of employees at your workplace? This might be a better option rather than asking a coworker. Suppose you discover that you are paid substantially less than someone who performs the same job as you. What would you do? Would you discuss the issue with other employees, your manager, human resources, or your union representative? If you believe you are being paid less than a coworker due to your sex or gender identity (or in California, your race or ethnicity) for substantially similar work, this pay discrimination guide offers suggestions for some steps you can take.

One way to keep employees from having to deal with these types of situations is to have employers be transparent when it comes to pay. Of course, they would have to do it in a way that does not violate confidentiality. Employers who want to be sure they are being equitable when it comes to how employees are paid, need to be intentional as put processes in place. You might consider starting by conducting a pay audit. This article describes how to conduct a pay audit and discusses why it matters.

Another way to manage these situations is through legislation. This article asserts that some states are pushing for pay reporting where employers would be required to submit pay data to state agencies. These states, along with the federal government seek to ensure pay equity for all employees. It would be another way to ensure transparency. Pay transparency laws would take federal anti-discrimination employment laws (i.e., the Equal Pay Act and Title VII) a step further and require employers to publish ranges for open positions, adding transparency to the conversations about pay. Proponents believe that increasing wage transparency in the hiring process can close the gender pay gap, reduce discrimination, and promote fairer compensation practices. Additionally, by requiring employers to disclose pay scales, job applicants can have a better sense of what to expect in terms of pay before they apply and negotiate salaries more effectively.

We’re curious. What measures does your library take to ensure pay equity among its employees? Please let us know by answering our one-question survey.