Remedying the Gender Pay Gap

A proposed federal rule designed to bring men's and women's pay in line would be an ineffective, burdensome mandate for employers.

Man and Woman Sit Next to each Other With a Pile of Money in Front of Them, Woman Looking Jealous at Man's Pile
(Image credit: (c) Digital Vision.)

Q. What do you think about a proposed federal rule to require all companies with more than 100 employees to report the pay, age and sex of their workers, grouped by occupation? It’s supposed to expose pay discrimination against women.

A. It is not only illegal but unethical for an employer to pay an employee in a particular group—age cohort, race or sex—less than a colleague in the same job because of that characteristic. That’s indefensible discrimination. Fortunately, it is becoming rare today. Where such bias exists, the employer should be held responsible by legal action. But employers have a right to pay varying wages to workers in the same or similar jobs if the differential is due to verifiable factors, such as education and experience, and/or intangibles, such as quality of work, creativity or work ethic.

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Knight Kiplinger
Editor Emeritus, Kiplinger

Knight came to Kiplinger in 1983, after 13 years in daily newspaper journalism, the last six as Washington bureau chief of the Ottaway Newspapers division of Dow Jones. A frequent speaker before business audiences, he has appeared on NPR, CNN, Fox and CNBC, among other networks. Knight contributes to the weekly Kiplinger Letter.