February 1 2013

Paycheck Peeping

Charlotte Hays

Would you like for your colleagues to be privy to the details about your paycheck?

Currently, if somebody finds out and spreads these intimate details around the office, the employer can take punitive action. Since details about pay are intimate, most of us wouldn’t want everybody to know.

Senator Barbara Mikulski is calling for a new version of the Paycheck Fairness Act that would prohibit employers from punishing employees who reveal the salaries of others.

Paycheck Fairness laws are based on a misunderstanding to the wage-gap and the belief that the government can go anywhere in our lives.The last attempt to pass Paycheck Fairness was last June. So here we go again.

One provision of the law Mikulski is pushing might seem fair at a cursory look: employers will be required to explain how disparities in pay are related to job performance. Can you imagine the nightmares this will create? And don't you already talk to your boss about your paycheck, even without a government rule?

There are so many factors that determine what we are paid. I can imagine this having terrible repercussions in the lives of many people. Think how humiliating disclosure would be for the struggling, barely-making it employee, who is getting a third chance to hold onto a job.

In a way, of course, our paychecks already do explain our value to whatever operation employs us. But I can imagine larger companies having to hire somebody to handle the unproductive task of explaining to people why they make what they make.

This could turn your office into a minefield and make your boss afraid to give you a merit raise. But you know who would make out like bandits from Mikulski’s proposal? The trial lawyers, a key Democratic Party constituency…

 

 

 

 

 

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