Women make about 82 cents for every dollar earned by men. Some politicians think this is unfair and want to “fix” this gap with a law called the “Paycheck Fairness Act.”
But that 18 cent difference is about a lot more than just ‘fairness.’
People and their career choices are individual, not parts of a math equation.
A truck driver (typically a man) will earn more money than a hair stylist (typically a woman.) Not because of discrimination, but simply the different natures of the jobs.
Also, children keep many women out of the workplace more often than men. This means a man – or woman – may have more time on the job and thus higher pay than a woman who has the same job, but took time off to stay home with a child.
When you take these differences and other non-monetary factors out of the pay scale equation, the wage-gap pretty much disappears.
A 50 year old law already makes it illegal to pay equally-qualified and experienced women less when they do the same work as a male.
The proposed Paycheck Fairness Act would presume any difference in pay between a man and woman could be discriminatory. A female accountant with three years experience who earns less than a male accountant with ten years experience could file a lawsuit, forcing her employer to spend time and money proving the difference was not sex discrimination.
A man facing the same experience and pay gap could not file that lawsuit.
So, an employer considering a man and woman to work alongside a more experienced and higher paid male would likely take the safer choice and hire a second male. He’d be less of a lawsuit risk than the female.
The Paycheck Fairness Act won’t fix ‘fairness’, but it will cause a real fairness problem for the women it is supposed to help.