The Pay Gap
It’s the 21st century, and American companies still disenfranchise their employees by virtue of unbalanced pay scales. Employees should be paid based on their education, skill, and ability to perform, and yet many companies across the country are still influenced by gender, race, and religious affiliation when it comes to writing paychecks.
If you discover that you are being paid less for the same work, you can fight back. An equal pay attorney from The Melton Law Firm can help you hold your employer accountable for their discriminatory practices. With their help, you can receive compensation for backpay you missed out on, as well as ensure your future paychecks are appropriate. To learn more, contact us today at (512) 330-0017.
How the Pay Gap Sits in America Today
Nationwide, the pay gap is so ubiquitous that other countries have either surpassed us, or soon will, in terms of equal pay. And we’re not talking about wealthy Western countries, either. No, we’re talking Syria, Yemen, and China.
U.S. companies pay women 72.2% of what men make. This means male engineers can rake in $100,000 annually, while women working in the same capacity with similar or comparatively greater experience will make $72,200. That increases to $87,400 in Iceland, $72,700 in Colombia, and $75,000 in Mozambique, according to World Economic Forum data.
Racial pay gaps tell an even scarier story.
Data from PEW Research Center in Washington, D.C. shows white males in blue collar jobs earned $21 per hour on average in 2015, while Black and Hispanic males earned $15 and $14, respectively. Asian males averaged $24 hourly.
White women averaged $17 an hour while Black and Hispanic females hit $13 and $12, respectively. Asian females, like their male counterparts, rose above white females by averaging $18 an hour during the same data period.
CNBC data in March of 2018 showed that women represent roughly 5.2% of all S&P CEOs, and their tenures as Chief Executive Officer run half the time as their male equivalents.
How Does Texas Rank Nationally?
According to Texas’ 2017 census data, women earned 81% of what males earned in positions requiring similar education, training, and experience. Annual earnings for males hit $49,414 while women took in $40,236, a difference of $9,000. This data puts Texas 22nd out of all states and District of Columbia, with the earnings gap showing little sign of closing since 2004.
Out of all 36 Congressional Districts in Texas, the closest women get to men by virtue of earnings average is TX-32, which comprises a small section of North Dallas where men earn $52,021 and women earn $48,761, or 93.7% of what men rake. The worst district in Texas? TX-03, an area covering Plano, McKinney, Frisco, and parts of north and northeast Dallas. Here, males earn $80,057 and females rake in $53,976, or 67.4% of a man’s capacity.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates women lost $77 billion in Texas due to an unjustifiable wage gap. What makes this estimate especially startling is the fact that 1.3 million Texas households are headed by women, 31% of which fall below the federal poverty level.
Austin Women Feel the Effects, Too
The National Partnership for Women and Families studied the wage gap in Austin, where women earn 83% of what men do. In a city with 27% of the 73,000 women-headed households living in poverty, inequalities in pay are being fought viciously by Austin’s City Council.
In Austin, April 8 each year marks Equal Pay Day. Women must work until this day to earn the same as what men did the previous calendar year. With the City of Austin, an employer of 12,000 people, the pay disparity hits just as hard, although the city is working toward being a model employer that pays all races and sexes equally.
Closing This Gap
Without sweeping reform to what companies pay women, experts estimate men and women will not reach parity until 2059. Even with the Equal Pay Act of 1963, corporations find ways to circumvent pay equality.
Elimination of pay gaps in Texas may help a working woman:
- Pay 10.5 extra months in rent;
- Buy 78 additional weeks of food for her household;
- Pay tuition to a two-year college in full, or one extra year at a four-year school;
- Provide 15 extra months of child care; or
- Pay seven extra months of mortgage and utility payments.
Texas is one of several states advancing policies to end occupational segregation based on race and sex, one of those measures being the Paycheck Fairness Act. Pushing Congress to pass these measures, however, may be another battle in itself.
Experts find the pay gap is not only a contributing factor to why so many women drop out of America’s labor force, but also effectively wages war on child care. Women historically shoulder child care nationwide, with only 29% of men agreeing that they should stay at home more.
The gender pay gap in Texas, much like America, must factor not only the pay of women and men working full-time, but take into account why women aren’t working, how their lack of employment affects their opportunities down the road, and how child care and other necessary expenses should factor into the pay disparity issue.
Women who have been unfairly paid in Austin and surrounding cities are encouraged to stand up for themselves and their fellow women. From holding their respective employers accountable by retaining an equal pay lawyer, a strong message can be conveyed to male-led corporations that it’s time to take the pay gap issue seriously.
If you suspect that you are being paid differently for the same work based on your gender, race, religious affiliation, or other personal characteristics, you can take action to remedy the problem. An equal pay lawyer from The Melton Law Firm can help you file a lawsuit against your employer to recover both lost wages from the past and ensure your future pay is fair. Our founder John Melton is board certified in both civil trial law and labor and employment law, meaning he is an expert and specialist in this field. We have been helping employees fight for their rights in Austin since 2008, and we have successfully gone up against massive and powerful employers including Dell, Apple, and the City of Austin. To learn more about how our equal pay team can help you seek justice and compensation, contact us today at (512) 330-0017.