On June 10, 1963, John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into existence, prohibiting employers from paying women less than men for equal work. Last June, we predicted that 2017 could be the year of equal pay, but even though 2018 marks the 55th anniversary of JFK’s equal pay legislation, it’s still too early to celebrate.
According to the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), U.S. women earn on average 80 cents for every dollar men earn, while Hispanic and African American women face even steeper pay disparities. The NWLC also estimates that women lose out on $403,440 over the course of a lifetime due to the wage gap, with this figure soaring over half a million in some states.
Many states have taken matters into their own hands and are targeting pay discrimination by banning salary history questions and extending paid family leave. We’re only halfway through 2018 and New Jersey, Vermont, and Connecticut have already enacted salary history bans. Other states are in the midst of wrestling with policies designed to level the playing field, so that list may grow by the end of the year.
Here are the major equal pay policy changes in the past year:
Achieving equal pay won’t happen overnight. According to Namely’s Workplace Diversity Report 2018, women are currently underrepresented in leadership roles and less likely than men to receive a raise or promotion. While banning salary history questions and increasing paid family leave can help close the gender gap in the workplace, that’s just the start. To learn how to create equity in your own workplace, read the full report here.