Pay equity best practices guidelines released ahead of Equal Pay Day

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COLUMBIA - In Missouri, women are paid 71 cents to the dollar that men earn, and for the United States as a whole it is 78 cents to the dollar, according to the Women's Foundation.

Monday, the Women's Foundation and the University of Missouri's Institute of Public Policy released a report called the Pay Equity Best Practices Guidelines. The release came just ahead of Equal Pay Day to fulfill part of Governor Nixon's Executive Order No. 15-09.

That order stated, "The State of Missouri is committed to ensuring that all Missourians are treated on equal terms."

The two organizations partnered to come up with a list of best practices for employers to use in the public and private sectors.

These are the three "best practices" listed in the report:

1. Employers should determine whether gender-based wage disparities exist in their

  • Conduct self-audits to determine if there are disparities
  • Work towards fixing disparities if they are found

2. Employers should evaluate whether their current compensation system is equitable.

  • Understand what constitutes fair pay for all workers
  • Asses the value of every position in the company 
  • Consider non-wage compensation, such as opportunities available to part-time
    workers, and flexible scheduling, in an evaluation of equal pay practices

3. Employers should ensure transparency concerning organizational compensation policies.

  • Salary ranges for all job titles should be made public and available to all job applicants
  • Develop and implement policies which prohibit pay secrecy and eliminate
    penalties for discussing pay
  • Consider joint evaluation processes when making pay raise and promotion
    decisions, and ensure that these decisions are justifiable and well documented.

In the United States, the median income of a man who worked full-time year round was $50,033, compared to $39,157, the median income of a woman who worked full-time year round, according to the report.

"The wage gap that is cited includes all workers: the median income of all male workers versus the median income of all female workers. It does include part-time, minimum wage, it includes everyone," Sonja Erickson, senior research analyst for MU's Institute of Public Policy, said.

The report stated this income disparity crosses all racial and ethnic groups, educational levels, and most occupations. 

"Often people only look at a woman's hourly wage versus a man's hourly wage, but a lot of the pay disparities come during bonus times when a man might get a much higher bonus than a woman or might have an opportunity to be promoted when a woman doesn't have that same opportunity," Erickson said.

The report also said, "While educational attainment, career fields, and personal choices can contribute to differences in income, studies which control for divergent life paths have found that, all things being equal, women are still paid less than men for the same work." 

Erickson said this is not a mandate nor statute but, "These are tools that the governor is hoping the public and private sector can use."