All Articles Tagged "wage gap"

Proposed California Bill Plans To Punish Companies Who Overpay Their CEOs

April 26th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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The general public usually gets outraged when they hear about exorbitant executive salaries, particularly for companies that aren’t doing very well. California is now trying to take action against the ever-expanding salary gap between CEOs and employees with a process to ban  “out of whack” CEO salaries.

A new bill that will do just that is in the state Legislature with support from Democratic leaders, organized labor and former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich, reports The Huffington Post.

According to Reich,  the bill would reward “responsible” companies by giving them lower tax rates and ultimately help the middle class by boosting the U.S. economy.

Under bill SB1372 companies that pay CEOs more than 100 times the median wage of their workers would have to pay a higher corporate tax rate. But on the other hand, firms with a smaller wage gap would benefit from a lower rate.

Currently  the tax rate is 8.84 percent of net income for all corporations. For cooperating companies it would be dropped down to 7 percent and for offending firms it would be increased to 13 percent .

Of course there is opposition to the bill. According to the California Chamber of Commerce, the proposed bill would cause cost jobs.  “Chamber lobbyist Jennifer Barrera told the committee the bill would discourage corporate investment in California,” reports HuffPo.

And Gina Rodriquez, the California Taxpayers Association’s vice president for state tax policy, claimed it would make California appear hostile to business.

The naysayers might be jumping the gun. Even the authors of the bill aren’t sure of its passage since it will need a two-thirds super-majority, which seems unlikely since Republicans are expected to vote against it.

Still the Dems say such a bill, the first of its kind in the nation, is important and necessary. AFL-CIO data shows that chief executives received an average compensation of 43 times the median U.S. worker’s pay in 1983. And the gap is a whole lot bigger today — 278 times a typical wage.  There is even more proof of the gap.  The CEOs of companies listed in Standard & Poor’s 500 index received an average of 354 times more in salary than the median employee in 2012.

“The issue of widening inequality of income and wealth and opportunity and political power is one that the United States is now becoming aware of because things are getting so out of kilter,” Reich said to the Senate Governance and Finance Committee.

Fairness & Long-Term Financial Health: This Is How The Equal Pay Issue Impacts Us All

April 9th, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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equal pay day

Update: The Paycheck Fairness Act went before the Senate today and Republican plans to block it were successful. The bill was halted for a third time by a vote of 53 to 44. The bill would’ve prohibited retaliation against staffers who discuss their pay and require the Labor Department to collect wage data based on sex and race.

Saying the bill is “unnecessary,” the GOP argues that the bill is unnecessary, will lead to lots more litigation rather than pay equity, and claim that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has a grip on the Senate that won’t allow alternatives into the discussion. The party is risking bad press; the block will be framed by Democrats as another in a list of offenses in the Republican “war on women.” But the Republicans say the Dems have been lining up a number of bills to present to the government body that have no chance of passing just for the political capital they can gain in an election year.

Republicans have charged Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) with presenting their version of equal pay legislation.

[via Politico]

Original story: April 8, 2014

Today is Equal Pay Day and President Obama used it as an opportunity to one again highlight the need to pay women equal pay for equal work. He signed an executive order that will force federal contractors to discuss pay with one another, bringing to light any differences. And information about pay, based on sex and race, will now have to be reported to the Labor Department. At a time when women are still being paid 77 cents for every dollar a man earns, this is a necessary step in the right direction. Moreover, white men in the US make 36 percent more than African-American women.

“President Obama’s executive action on pay equality had significant political overtones ahead of a planned Senate vote on the so-called Paycheck Fairness Act,” reports ABC News. The President and the Dems will seek to paint the pay issue as one more area where the GOP is out of touch with the needs of women.

“The Democrat-sponsored legislation would require all employers to prove differences in pay are not based on gender, would force them to allow employees to talk publicly about their wages, and allow lawsuits for punitive damages in cases of alleged sex discrimination,” the article continues.

Still, the President was forced to face the fact that women working in the White House are making, on average, 88 cents for every dollar that male staffers make.

“Men and women in equivalent roles here earn equivalent salaries,” Press Secretary Jay Carney said today. He noted that that average figure brings into play the salaries of women in lower positions. Still, he noted, there are women serving in high positions such as homeland security advisor, White House counsel, and deputy chief of staff.

Carney brings up a good point that goes beyond the White House: women need to get into higher paying jobs. Nearly two-thirds of jobs in the US pay less than $20 per hour, and many of those jobs — administrative assistants and health care aides, for example — are held by women.

A Pew Research survey shows that the majority of women (72 percent) and men (61 percent) say steps need to be taken to make the sexes equal in the workplace. Though for younger women, the gap is much smaller. The persistent gap is due, in part, to the “career interruptions” that women usually experience to have a family.

More than a question of fairness, the wage gap issue has real, tangible effects. PolicyMic (via the White House) has a list of things that women could buy with the money they’re missing out on. But more than that, women are denied the opportunity to save money “and achieve long-term financial security” because they’re paid less. And at a time when more women are the breadwinners in their homes, it has an impact on them and their families in the present. In other words, men, women and children lose out when women don’t get paid what they’re due.

If you’d like to learn more about the history of the wage gap, and some current stats, here’s a video from Pew Research.

President Obama Wants You To Get Your Money Honey, Calls For New Rules For Overtime Pay

March 13th, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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President Obama has sent word to the Labor Department to rework the rules on overtime pay, which should raise wages for workers who, up to this point, are considered exempt from the extra income.

Republicans in Congress have already stated that they plan to fight the President’s efforts to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10. As a result, the President is turning to executive order, which will make “several million” fast-food workers, loan officers, managers of various sort, and others eligible for overtime. At the moment, the rule says that if someone is an “executive or professional” worker, they’re exempt from overtime. Of course, many businesses classify workers as “executive or professional” to avoid paying them more.

The measure is also in keeping with the President’s stated effort to begin the process of closing the wage and inequality gap in this country that stifles the financial ambitions of many lower-income, middle class and working class Americans.

“We need to fix the system so folks working hard are getting compensated fairly,” said Labor Secretary Cecilia Muñoz. Critics say that raising wages will force businesses to cut workers.

Over the past 30 years, The New York Times says, corporate profits have skyrocketed while the share of gross domestic income that went to workers fell to a record low of 42 percent in 2012. At the moment, if a salaried worker is making $455 per week or less, they must be given time-and-a-half for overtime if the additional time is put in. That figure was put in place in 2004.

Economists don’t yet agree on what the outcome of this will be. But NPR says, “… [A] ‘supervisor’ could earn as little as $24,000 a year, while working well beyond 40 hours. In some cases, such a worker might put in enough hours to end up getting paid — in effect — less than the minimum wage.” In that case, not only is this person not even earning a living wage, they’re not left with enough time to get a second job or start a little something on their own to supplement their income. This is untenable.

Overtime is sounding pretty good to us.

Obama, Congress & States Moving To Raise The Minimum Wage; Experts Argue Over The Impact

January 30th, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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via @WhiteHouse

via @WhiteHouse

During President Obama’s State of the Union address, he announced that he will raise the minimum wage for federally contracted workers through an executive order that will bring the hourly pay up to $10.10 from $7.25. According to the AP, the raise will only affect 10 percent of the total 2.2 million contracted workers and might not be renewed with those contracts come up for renewal. Nonetheless, security guards, housekeepers, and other low-wage workers can, and probably would, fight to hang on to and increase that amount.

This effort to raise wages is part of what President Obama called the “year of action.” Socioeconomic inequality will be a big focus.

“Those at the top have never done better,” the President said during his speech. “But average wages have barely budged. Inequality had deepened. Upward mobility has stalled.”

The President joins 10 states, including Arizona, Ohio, and Rhode Island, that have raised the minimum wage while Congress debates back and forth on the issue.

“That said, raising the minimum wage in and of itself can drastically raise the number of people affected. If the federal minimum wage grew to $10.10, suddenly not only the current minimum wage-earners (at $7.25 per hour) would be affected, but all of the $8 and $9 per hour workers likewise would slip below that bar and would need a raise,” according to US News“According to the Economic Policy Institute, a progressive economic think tank, 30 million Americans would get raises in this circumstances.”

The Economic Policy Institute has a petition on its website that has been signed, according to the site, by 600 economists, advocating for a $10.10 minimum wage.

“The vast majority of employees who would benefit are adults in working families, disproportionately women, who work at least 20 hours a week and depend on these earnings to make ends meet. At a time when persistent high unemployment is putting enormous downward pressure on wages, such a minimum-wage increase would provide a much-needed boost to the earnings of low-wage workers,” the petition says.

Still, there’s debate over the impact of this increase.

“It’s important to understand who’s earning the minimum wage. Very few people are raising families on the minimum wage alone—for instance, just nine percent of employees affected by the $10.10 number that Congress is discussing are single parents. By contrast, 60 percent of affected employees are either living at home with family and relatives or they’re a second- or third- earner,” Michael Saltsman, research director at The Employment Policies Institute, a nonprofit organization that researches issues surrounding entry-level employment, told us via email.

Support for minimum wage hikes is growing, but the debate over who will benefit — and who will benefit most — continues. This Washington Post story has a series of charts that break down the impact that a $10.10 increase would have on various demographics.

“But there’s no question that a large share of the American workforce earns wages well below $10.10 and would be directly affected as long as their jobs aren’t lost,” the article says.

Salary Peaks: What You’ll Really Earn Over The Course Of Your Career

January 18th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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You may think that with work experience your salary will just keep getting bigger and bigger. Not so. There are actually salary peaks — and a woman’s salary peaks before she hits 40!

An analysis from PayScale found that women’s pay peaks at age 39, and, depending on their median data, at around $60,000. While you may have increases after this, the pay jumps will hardly ever outpace inflation, which means you’ll earn what really amount to $60,000 for the remainder of your professional career.

Here’s evidence of the wage gap: Men’s salaries don’t peak until age 48, topping out at a median of $95,000.

Both men and women will see salary growth of about 60 percent by age 30, according to the PayScale study.

By the time the typical woman reaches age 39, her salary has grown by less than 20 percent when compared to when she was 30. Then after 39 the growth pretty much comes to a halt.

Men however have a steady salary growth rate after age 30. Yet by age 48 most men see that their income has grown by about 45 percent, compared to when they were 30.

Don’t get too disappointed, a lot of this depends on your career profession and choices.  But there are things you can that will positively affect your salary growth.

In Your 20s: Since you are fresh out of college you might be eager to take the first job you’re offered. Have a plan before you jump into the professional pool.Take a look at the industry you have chosen. Does it have frequent annual pay increases?  Careers in engineering, computer science, management positions (usually dominated by men) all of which have a healthy growth rate.

Also during this period, look for ways to move up. If a position becomes available, go for it.  It is also a good time in your career to begin your savings strategy as your responsibilities should be at a minimum.

In Your 30s:  Be on the lookout for new opportunities. Go on interviews regularly. According to Kathy Caprino, president of career and leadership coaching company Ellia Communications, “Literally, you should be interviewing two or three times a year.” A new job usually means a pay bump.

Volunteer to take on new projects or more work. With more responsibility comes more money. And even is you are hope raising kids, try to do some part-time or freelance work to stay in the pipeline and maintain your contacts.

Cut down your debt and start saving money for retirement. You should be putting away at least 15 percent of your income.

In your 40s and 50s: Stop overspending and put your retirement savings needs first. At this stage of life, you should ideally be saving 25 percent of your income for retirement.

Pay off the mortgage. It’s not a good idea to enter into retirement still having to worry about carrying a mortgage.  Sugar Savvy has a good suggestion on how to pay down the loan: “Make half a mortgage payment every two weeks — you’ll end up making one full extra payment every year, which will slightly accelerate your payoff schedule.”

Do You Think CEOS Are Overpaid? Are Teachers Underpaid? New Poll Looks At Salaries & Opinions

January 17th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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What people earn is a touchy subject. Everyone has an opinion about what certain professions should make. Well,  a new Business Insider/SurveyMonkey Audience poll, shows the mean income for about 50 occupations as well as what people think these jobs salaries should be. Some 400 respondents were asked to rate which jobs were very overpaid, somewhat overpaid, paid about right, somewhat underpaid, or very underpaid.

And you probably won’t be shocked by the findings. Wall Street types were considered very overpaid. Financial managers, for example, have a mean income of $123,260 and  77.3 percent of people said they were very or somewhat overpaid. Count CEOs, financial analysts, real estate brokers, and lawyers in this slot as well.

Agricultural workers, with a mean income of $21,920, were thought of as very or somewhat underpaid by 89.9 percent of the respondents as were positions in childcare, restaurants, factories, and schools, reports Business Insider. Just over 68 percent believed high school teachers, who take home $57,770, were underpaid.

The country’s wage gap is a hot button political issue, with minimum wage rates changing across the country. New Jersey increased its minimum wage this year to $8.25. And the state wasn’t alone in doing so.”On Jan. 1, 13 states raised their minimum wage (by varying degrees), and on July 1, California will increase its by $1 an hour,” reports CNN.

The city of Los Angeles might go even further. New proposals may give it the highest minimum wage in the country. Three city council members are expected to introduce a motion to up the minimum wage to $15.37 an hour for hotel workers in the city. This would be about double the California’s $8 hourly minimum and the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour. And, reports The Huffington Post, the proposal’s authors have said they’d like the new wage increase to apply to all workers citywide.

An interesting trend has emerged in states that have already increased their minimum wages. Small businesses aren’t just increasing the pay for their low-wage employees but for the rest of their staff as well. Because of this, the Economic Policy Institute expects about 4.6 million workers will have their salaries boosted. Breaking it down, 2.6 million of those workers are directly affected as the new minimum wage mandates and the other 2 million will reap reward from the ripple effect.

The minimum wage increase may sweep across America. “Congressional Democrats and President Obama are pushing to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 by 2015,” reports CNN.

But as more and more states are considering upping their minimum wages, the Senate just killed hopes of bring back unemployment insurance for over a million long-term unemployed Americans.

Both sides of the aisle could not agree and the Democrats accused the Republicans of filibustering over amends they wanted to make to the legislation.

On December 28, unemployment benefits ended for 1.3 million people. And each week since, an additional 70,000 of the unemployed reach the end of their state benefits, reports The Huffington Post.

Republican and Democratic senators can’t agree on how to pay for the aid. They also disagree on the period of time the federal government should pay the benefits.

But there is still hope of a compromise says Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). When asked if the unemployment insurance extension bill was dead in the Senate, he said “no” but, “I think it will get worked out.”

Job Hunting In Louisiana? It Has Biggest Wage Gap Between Black Women And White Men

November 19th, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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Anne Power/Shutterstock

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal Anne Power/Shutterstock

It is a fact that African-American women make less than white men, but it is glaringly obvious in Louisiana. That state has the widest gap in earnings between black women and white men of any state in the country, according to an analysis done by the National Women’s Law Center, reports The New Orleans Times-Picaynne.

African-American women earned 48.8 cents for every dollar earned by white men in 2012 in Louisiana which a much wider gap than anywhere else in the country. Nationwide,  African-American women made 64 cents for every dollar earned by white men in 2012.

“A few other states in the Deep South also made the list of states with the widest wage gap between African American women and white men. Mississippi has the third largest gap and Alabama has the fifth largest gap,” notes the newspaper.

And it is not just black women who earn less than white men in Louisiana. “The state ranks second in the country, behind Wyoming, for having the largest overall wage gap between women and men,” reports The Times-Picaynne.

Louisiana is trying to close this gap. The Louisiana State Legislature took a step last spring toward attempting to close that wage gap. Legislation was passed that ensured female state employees would be paid as much as male employees if they are in the same position. But the state could have done more — the legislature didn’t pass  a broader measure that would have called for equal pay for women in the private sector as well.

“We hope that having an understanding of this data will prompt more action on the public policy front,” said Fatima Goss Graves, vice president for education and employment at the National Women’s Law Center.

Isn’t Variety The Spice Of Life? New Report Shows Lack Of Diversity In The Restaurant Business

May 6th, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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Many are asking where are the black chefs and the women chefs after viewing the 2013 list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. And the lack of diversity is not just in the kitchen but across every aspect of the restaurant industry, according to news site RH Reality Check (via The Huffington Post).

“We tend not to realize that diversity is not the same as equity — that simply seeing a lot of restaurant workers from different backgrounds doesn’t mean that restaurant workers have equal opportunities to advance to jobs that will allow them support themselves and their families,” says Saru Jayaraman, director of the Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) in her book Behind the Kitchen Door, published earlier this year.

And minorities who are in the business receive lower pay than their white counterparts. “There’s a wage gap of four dollars between white workers and workers of color in the restaurant industry,” Jayaraman explained in an interview with ROC. “We’ve done studies to show that the best-paying jobs in the industry — and there are some good-paying jobs — are held almost exclusively by white workers.”

Women too are overlooked—and are paid less. A 2010 report called “Waiting on Equality: The Role and Impact of Gender in the New York City Restaurant Industry” conducted by the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United revealed that women of color are largely segregated by segment in the restaurant industry with 38.5 percent of black women, 33.3 percent of Asian women, and 44.1 percent of Latina women surveyed working in the low-paying quick service sector. Men held 67 percent of Tier I front-of-the-house positions; women held only 32 percent, according to the report.  Women of color earn just 70 cents for every dollar paid to men and just 64 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data.

“Women of color are hard hit by a kind of perfect –- and perfectly devastating –- storm caused by discrimination, a struggling economy and the country’s failure to adopt family friendly workplace policies,” said Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families, in a release. The Partnership is working to close the wage gap.

Almost Every Woman Working A Full-Time Job In The US Is Getting Paid Less Than Their Male Counterparts

April 10th, 2013 - By Tonya Garcia
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Hot on the heels of Equal Pay Day, the Center for American Progress revealed data that shows 97 percent of American women are working full-time jobs that men are typically getting paid more money for.

The analysis is based on figures from 2011, and show that of the 534 professions listed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women only earn more than men in seven of them. The number of women working those professions is 1.5 million, The Huffington Post says, or three percent of full-time women workers. “And even here, in the seven occupations that women do earn more, the wage difference is quite small,” the article continues.

The seven occupations where women are making more money than men are respiratory therapist ($62 per week), computer support specialist ($55), operations research analyst ($68), stock clerks and order fillers ($13), medical scientist ($25), bookkeeping/accounting/auditing clerks ($2), and packers ($1).

One expert from the Center for American Progress says the discrepancy is due, in part, to women not negotiating their salaries when they enter the working world.

So ladies, let’s start teaching the next generation of women to ask and negotiate right out of the gate.

It May Be Equal Pay Day, But It Will Take 40 Years For Women To Reach Equality

April 9th, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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Do you feel a little more equal today?

There has been much data about the gender wage gap, but a new analysis of U.S. Census Bureau stats breaks down the gap by the country’s 50 largest metropolitan areas in all 50 states—and includes an analysis of the wage gap for African-American women and Latinas in the 20 states where they are the majority. The analysis is being released for Equal Pay Day, which marks how far into the new year women must work in order to catch up with what men were paid the year before. It was conducted by the National Partnership for Women & Families.

Here are some the disheartening findings: The cities with the largest gender-based, cents-on-the-dollar pay differences are the Seattle, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and Detroit. And, the states with the largest cents-on-the-dollar differences are Wyoming, Louisiana, Utah, and West Virginia.

The report also found that nationally, women who hold full-time jobs are only paid the oft-quoted 77 cents for every dollar paid to men who hold full-time jobs. African-American women and Latinas fare worse, paid 64 cents and 55 cents, respectively, for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. This wage gap has been closing at a rate of less than half a cent per year since passage of the Equal Pay Act in 1963, said the report. This means that if things continue at this rate, women will not be paid equally for more than 40 years.

The findings looked at what the wage gap in each state and locality means in terms of women’s spending power, particularly on food, housing, and gas. This doesn’t bode well for the more than 15.1 million U.S. households headed by women, 31 percent of which fall below the poverty line, according to a press release.

While the study is enlightening, it is also staggeringly shocking. Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families agrees. “It is terribly disappointing that not a single state or metropolitan area has eliminated the wage gap that punishes women and their families. This new analysis illustrates how pervasive the gender-based wage gap is, and what it costs families,” said Ness in a press statement. “With most women serving as essential breadwinners for their families, the loss of this critical income has devastating consequences. Local, state and federal lawmakers should make ending gender discrimination in pay and promotions a much higher priority.”

Many are still pinning their hopes on the ability for the Paycheck Fairness Act to close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act, which is meant to help break harmful patterns of pay discrimination and establish stronger workplace protections for women. The bill, which has President Obama’s support, was reintroduced in Congress in January.  But more is needed, say advocates. The National Partnership and other advocates are calling on the president to issue an executive order on fair pay, which would set an example for the nation’s employers and help ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used to support discriminatory pay practices.