Equal Pay Act: What Does that Mean for Employers?


California continues to lead the way in gender equality laws. The Equal Pay Act was originally established in 1963, but has been slightly altered the first of this year. Under the Act, an “employer is prohibited from paying employees of the opposite sex lower wage rates for substantially similar work, when viewed as a composite of skill, effort, and responsibility, and performed under similar working conditions.” The employer must pay employees the same wage for the same type and amount of work being done. The exceptions would be if the employer has established the entire wage differential based on; a seniority system, a merit system, a system that measures earnings by quantity/quality of production, or a factor that is necessary for job function such as, education, training, or experience.


The Act protects employees from wage loss by comparing wages. The employer is required to demonstrate pay differences between male and female employees doing “substantially similar” work for the same or similar job. Preceding legislation only required men and women of the same job title to be paid equally. It is not a substantial edit to the law but one that hopes to lessen the gender pay gap. Currently the gender pay gap studies have proven that in California, “Women typically earn about 90 percent of what men are paid until they hit 35. After that median earnings for women are typically 76–81 percent of what men are paid.”

It is important that employers take notice. This law protects ALL employees in the workplace. It is important that employers review their salary policies and have criteria established to determine the appropriate salary for all employees in the workplace.


If you would like more information regarding updates on the Equal Pay Act or have questions about updating your employee handbook, don’t hesitate to contact our offices today at info@alharveylaw.com or (530) 217-3520.


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