In 1963, John F. Kennedy signed the Federal Equal Pay Act which made it illegal to pay employees, who perform comparable jobs, differently on the basis of sex. At the time, women were being paid about 60 cents on the dollar for performing the same jobs as men, so this law was enacted as an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act in a national effort to abolish that wage disparity. The effects of this law were not seen immediately; it took another few decades for the awareness, implementation, and enforcement of the bill to be fully set into motion. The most noticeable improvement to the gender pay gap occurred throughout the ’80s and ’90s, as businesses began to embrace this progressive movement and realized the value of building a culture of equal pay for equal work to meet consumer demand for corporate social responsibility. However, that trend really started to slow down at the turn of the 21st century and has remained relatively stagnant for the last decade.
In response to this and a variety of other political movements, several state governments have finally decided that they had enough and begun to enact their own equal pay laws. Specifically, Oregon’s Equal Pay Act, which took effect at the beginning of this year, expands the categories of protected classes to more than just sex and also imposes significantly harsher penalties for failing to comply. Consequently, employers are having a tough time right now trying to figure out how to navigate and deal with the complexities of this new law and bring their pay structures in to compliance and up to date. Recognizing the need and seizing the opportunity, Heyke Kirkendall-Baker, Associate Vice President of Human Resources at Lewis & Clark College with over 20 years of experience as an employment attorney, synchronized with her husband Steve Baker, a professional Information Technology Software Engineer, to design and develop Parity Software: The Pay Equity Solution.
Parity Software is the only cloud-based equal pay software that generates and stores printable job descriptions, automatically groups jobs of comparable character in accordance with the requirements of the Equal Pay Act, and uses data to uncover any pay gaps which allows businesses to create a strategy to close those gaps and prevent them from reoccurring in the future. Beyond providing mere compliance with a growing number of equal pay laws and reducing the risk of expensive lawsuits, Parity Software gives businesses the ability to adopt a data-backed compensation philosophy that will attract and retain the best talent through a commitment to equity throughout the entire workforce. It’s no longer enough to simply wait and see what happens; investors and partners expect their companies to drive change and have a social impact. This tool is just a small part of a much larger mission that is aimed at using innovation and technology to foster a transparent and equitable workplace worldwide.