In a somewhat ironic twist, the movement toward equal pay for women seems to have picked up steam, even though the incoming Trump administration may not be inclined to use the power of the Executive Branch to push employers to change their pay policies.
Recently, several states have enacted laws forbidding employees from asking applicants for their salary histories. And since 2014, the Department of Labor has required federal contractors to practice “pay transparency” so employees can freely discuss pay among themselves.
In the last year, however, the Obama administration has gone even farther, ramping up its pay equity outreach to large, private-sector employers. The hope is that a voluntary program that doesn’t rely on regulations or executive orders may produce lasting change.
The White House Equal Pay Pledge was created in January 2016, designed to attract participation from major American consumer brands. So far, more than 100 employers have signed on.
Among them: Apple, Chobani, CVS, Facebook, General Motors, IBM, Intel, Nike, Patagonia and Target.
By signing the pledge, employers commit to conducting annual company-wide gender pay analyses, reviewing HR processes to reduce hidden gender bias and embedding equal pay efforts into broader enterprise-wide equity initiatives.
Some pledge participants have formed an independent group, the Employers for Pay Equity consortium, which has pledged to end the gender pay gap. Members include Airbnb, Cisco, Dow, Mercer, Staples and Visa.
Final note: As employers face stiffer competition for talent, it may be time to dust off PR efforts to become a so-called “employer of choice.” Signing on to the pay equity pledge may be part of that effort. Find details at www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2016/12/07/over-100-companies-sign-equal-pay-pledge.