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Equal Pay: What Is The Equal Rights Act And Equal Pay Day?

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For years, women were paid substantially less than men who were doing the same job. At some point, women decided they had had enough of the lesser treatment and demanded equal pay. This led to the Equal Pay Act. This piece of legislation paved the way for women and their careers. 

What Is the Equal Pay Act?

The Equal Pay Act makes it illegal to pay men more than women for the same job. Jobs are determined by the work required within the role, not the job title. 

Types of pay that are protected in the act:

  • Regular salary
  • Bonuses
  • Vacation/holiday pay
  • Overtime pay
  • Travel allowances
  • Benefits

It is not only illegal to pay men more than women for the same job, but it is also illegal to give one sex more vacation time than the other or a lesser allowance for work travel purposes. If it is found that one sex is being paid more than the other, the employer is not allowed to reduce either salary to equate them. 

What Happens When the Equal Pay Act Is Violated?

If the Equal Pay Act is being violated, the person filing the claim against the employer will need to be able to prove this with evidence. It falls on the person filing the claim to prove that there is discrimination happening in the workplace, but once there is a solid case, the claim will be taken to the employer where they will need to prove there is no discrimination happening. 

Who Does the Equal Pay Act Protect?

It is typically thought that the Equal Pay Act is only there to help women in the event of discrimination, but it is in place to protect everyone. Just as it's illegal to pay men more for the same job, it is also illegal to pay women more for the same job. 

Equal Pay Day

Equal Pay Day was started by a committee in 1996. Equal Pay Day changes depending on the year and race. 

For example, in 2021 we have the following Equal Pay Days:

  • All women's: March 24, 2021
  • African American women's: August 3, 2021
  • Asian American women's: March 9, 2021
  • Native American women's: September 8, 2021
  • Latina American women's: October 21, 2021

Equal Pay Day indicates how far into the next year women are required to work to potentially earn the amount of money the average white male made the year before.