Equal Pay Act

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…”

Commentary

US Capitol building

Darrel Issa’s Government Handover

January 05, 2011

Cry Wolf Quotes

Proponents of Federal equal pay at times say that variations in State laws indicate a need for a Federal law which will promote uniformity. Such a contention is unsound. A certain amount of experimentation is desirable to find the type of law that works best. The efforts in the 22 States [with equal pay laws already on the books] amount, in effect, to laboratories of experiment….This opportunity for the 50 States to learn from one another is highly desirable. It would be forever lost once Federal legislation takes effect.

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William Miller representative of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Testimony, House Hearing.
03/26/1963 | Full Details | Law(s): Equal Pay Act

To have any meaning at all, a comparison of wage rates must be based on the wages of employees doing at least the same kind of work. For example, if one includes the wages of both skilled and unskilled employees in determining the average rates for women and men, the sex having the greater number of skilled workers will obviously have the higher average wage rate. There are, of course, a greater number of skilled male employees than skilled female employees. Consequently, when average wage rates are compared without being limited to the type of work being performed, the comparison is not merely meaningless; it is totally misleading. The resultant differential between the average wage rates of women and men simply cannot properly be used to support an argument that Federal equal pay legislation is necessary.

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W. Boyd Owen, Vice-president of personnel administration for the Owens-Illinois Glass Company, Testimony, Senate Hearing.
04/03/1963 | Full Details | Law(s): Equal Pay Act

[The proposal would] involve undue interference in the work relationship…interfere with efficient management, and prove disruptive to good relations between employer and employees.

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National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) representative Leo Teplow, Testimony, House Committee on Education and Labor.
05/18/1950 | Full Details | Law(s): Equal Pay Act

Any figures advanced to sustain a case that extensive rate discrimination exists, are likely to be misleading because they cannot represent the full extent to which the principle of equal pay for equal work exists throughout industry. While contract provisions might show the degree to which equal pay is embodied in collective bargaining agreements, they fail to indicate the far greater number of cases where employers of their own volition paid the same rates to men and women where jobs were equal, or where an identical wage scale is applicable to men and women although no specific ‘equal wage’ provision is contained in the agreement.

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Statement of the National Association of Manufacturers at the Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare (Subcommittee on Labor). Aug 1, 1962.
08/01/1962 | Full Details | Law(s): Equal Pay Act