After Equal Pay Day USA

| April 6, 2020 | 3 min read
After Equal Pay Day USA, how we we advance real change?

As the founder and Chief Data Scientist of Syndio, the world leader in HR tech solutions solving the gender pay gap, it is fascinating for me to watch Equal Pay Day in the USA come and go this year under a very heavy and different atmosphere than in years past.

The Hill posted an article by Chirlane McCray (First Lady of New York City, perhaps the place hit hardest by the pandemic right now) and Jacqueline Ebanks (Executive Director of the NYC Commission on Gender Equity) entitled, Equal Pay Day More Important than Ever Amid Covid-19. The National Women’s Law Center also posted several great pieces on their site and social media calling companies to action, supporting augmented pay transparency, and reminding the public that many on the front lines of this pandemic are historically underpaid women, especially women of color.

These authors and organizations are right — pay equity is something we need to pay more attention to during these troubled times, not less. 

As the COVID19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc in all possible ways, it is hard to remember the things that mattered to us so much even a few weeks ago. Those of us lucky enough to still be employed and able to do our jobs from home have felt isolated, frustrated or challenged, as some of us struggle with additional work because kids are home with us, and because nothing feels normal.

From talking with some of our customers recently who are passionate about closing the gender pay gap, and achieving lasting pay equity in their organizations, a few things are clear as to why pay equity is more critical now than ever. Here’s why.


1. Building trust with employees is more important than ever.

First, these are uncertain times to say the least. Even if your company is not laying anyone off, the news is full of stories about organizations laying off hundreds of employees. People are in their homes, isolated and wondering what is going to happen to their jobs.

Retaining your top talent starts with trust, which is most readily won or lost in times of uncertainty. The best way to foster trust is by treating people fairly and equitably — and proving it with data. Lip service without real action will only yield more distrust. However, paying attention to pay equity, and communicating transparently about your results and progress is key to fostering trust that will yield benefits now and way beyond the current crisis. Syndio’s PayEQ® software puts pay equity data at your fingertips so you can make data-driven decisions that target high impact areas of inequity to drive progress. 


2. Reduce the coming legal risk.

Based on what happened during and after the most recent economic crisis in 2008, it is likely that we will see a similar or even a significantly greater rise in employment law class actions and representative actions soon. More employment terminations coupled with fewer available job opportunities means that more unemployed people may be willing and available to become plaintiffs in a lawsuit against their (now) former employer.

Given the recent news that 6.6 million people filed unemployment claims over the last two weeks, this effect could be exponentially greater than during and after the 2008 financial crisis. While law firms may be fine with this scenario because it means more costly defense work, employers are wise to adopt prophylactic measures that reduce exposure to risk now, before it is too late. As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.


3. We are all in this together.

There is a big difference between saying something and doing something. Asking more of employees in turbulent economic times goes a lot further when that big request is accompanied by actions. As research suggests, achieving internal pay equity is significantly more likely to influence employees’ motivation as compared to market pay. And, frankly, the value of paying market rates right now is at an all-time low.

Few people are paying attention to that lever, and even if they are, most employees prefer to be sure that their organizations are treating them fairly and equitably. As Equal Pay Day USA highlights, we are all in this together. Working to achieve pay equity and close internal wage gaps is the best way for a company to demonstrate that it consistently and fairly values employees’ contributions.

Want to learn how Syndio can help your company achieve lasting pay equity?




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