It's back. The ludicrous statistic that women make 77 cents on the dollar compared to their male counterparts. Why is it back? Iceland had just passed legislation that requires government certification of pay practices demonstrating that women and men receive "equal pay". Feminist activists are screeching of course that the United States should follow suit. Let's move away from the narrative being pushed and get down to some realities.
The United States passed The Equal Pay Act in 1963. It specifically prohibits paying different wages based on gender. Revolutionary, huh? The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission established, in 1965, is charged with administrative responsibility for evaluating alleged violations of the Act. So, the United States has had an affirmative requirement against pay differentials based on gender for 54 years. It also has a government agency charged with evaluating claims of violations of this law. So yeah Iceland or something.
In 2009, President Barack Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act which lifted restrictions on the time period in which an individual must file a complaint of discrimination. The effect of this legislation along with a many decades long push for diversity in the workforce as a competitive advantage, motivated employers to proactively assess their compensation systems for bias.
As a professional, I did these assessments for a number of organizations. Usually, following a request from the General Counsel, a fairly standard evaluation that includes items such as title, pay grade, function, years of service, performance and the individual characteristics mandated by the EEOC such as race and gender was conducted. Generally this happened after the annual pay increase. This was loaded into a multiple regression analysis to see the statistical significance of the individual items.
I have done this evaluation within an organization dozens of times for thousands of employees. In the entire time I performed those analyses, I found ONE employee where gender was a statistically significant factor in pay. ONE. She had started her career in the company's South American division and emigrated to the U.S. and her pay was not adjusted accordingly until it was discovered.
The internal analysis most organizations do is very similar to those commissioned by the Department of Labor (DOL) which also shows that in the general population all but 7 cents is explained by factors other than gender. DOL analysis also controls for industry and occupation which covers over half of the difference in pay between men and women. The DOL notes that some of the remaining differential may be explained by negotiating styles between men and women generally. I would wager a guess from the analyses I have done that geographic location and the differing compensation philosophies of companies, even within the same industry explains a few of those pennies too.
Believe it or not most companies don't want to be sued and put proactive measures in place to reduce their liability.
Back to Iceland. The primary difference I can find in their legislation is that companies will be proactively required to certify their pay processes with the government. And guess what? According to CNN:
The new rules don't mean that companies must pay everyone doing the same job the exact same salary. Employers still have the option of rewarding their workers based on experience, performance and other aspects. However, the companies must show that the differences in wages are not due to gender.
So, employers in Iceland will certify their process using a pay analysis similar to what employers across our nation have been doing for years to avoid liability. Additionally, the law in the U.S. is interpreted by the EEOC to cover all terms and conditions of employment to include bonuses, promotions, training opportunities and other benefits. I can't find anything that says that Iceland's legislation is this broad.
Might be nice if the feminists in the U.S. were familiar with the laws and employment practices in their own country before they make much ado about, nothing.