Equal Pay Act
The Equal Pay Act amended the Fair Labor Standards Act (1938) with the intent to end the disparity in wages between men and women. The amendment argued that sex discrimination depressed wages and living standards for employees, hindered full employment, caused labor disputes that in turn affected commerce, and violated free and fair competition. The crucial part of the amendment: “No employer having employees subject to any provisions of this section shall discriminate, within any establishment in which such employees are employed, between employees on the basis of sex by paying wages to employees in such establishment at a rate less than the rate at which he pays wages to employees of the opposite sex in such establishment for equal work on jobs[,] the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions, except where such payment is made pursuant to (i) a seniority system; (ii) a merit system; (iii) a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; or (iv) a differential based on any other factor other than sex…”
Cry Wolf Quotes
…these bills grant extensive powers to the Secretary of Labor which permit of arbitrary application. For in proceeding under the law, the conclusion of the Secretary of Labor could not be upset by the courts, even if a company could prove that the jobs were not comparable, as long as the Secretary could show any substantial evidence that they were comparable.
Although there may be some inequitable situations in an industry as large as retailing, it should be pointed out that there have been conscientious efforts made to correct them. Further, in many States the situation has been corrected through the enactment of equal pay laws.
[W]e feel that in a free competitive economy, the task of equal pay to women workers is properly within the province of collective bargaining and not of police action by the government.
There are four major developments which make this proposed law of dubious value. Advancement of the worthwhile and sound objective of equal pay for equal work has already been well accomplished through: 1) General acceptance by employers; 2) A continuing aftermath of World War II developments; 3) Collective bargaining agreements; and 4) The tremendous increase in the establishment of job evaluation systems under which pay differentials based on sex are automatically abolished. It is through these channels that progress has been made and will continue to be made in eliminating multiple standards in the payment of wages.