All sorts of things go into determining how our salaries are set.
Competence, work ethic, enthusiasm and dedication, and experience are just a few factors that go into decisions about salaries.
But the Obama administration doesn't see it that way.
The Obama administration plans to force large employers to report the salaries of all employees, along with gender, to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. We have the opportunity to comment but this new rule, but it doesn't require Congress to act. (What does nowadays?)
This latest intrusion into the work place, and an intimate intrusion at that, which will include more than 63 million American workers, is justified as a way to find employers who practice gender discrimination.
We know that, even today, there are instances of gender discrimination. However, the gender wage gap cited by progressives is highly misleading. The figure beloved of progressives is that the gender wage gap is eighty cents on the dollar. My colleague Carrie Lukas explains in Forbes magazine:
The Department of Labor wage gap stat doesn’t compare two coworkers, one male and one female, doing the same job. Rather they tally up all working women and all working men. Major factors that impact how much someone earns—from their chosen industry, years of experience, and even the number of hours spent working each day—are left out. Studies show that when such factors are controlled for, most of the wage gap disappears.
And women make choices that should be factored in for an accurate picture. A study by Evolving Strategies for IWF last year found that different job attributes, such as being able to work mostly at home, or flexible schedules, can be worth $5,000 to $10,00 to a female employee. Ironically, the Obama administration's latest intrusion into the workplace is going to hurt a lot of women. Carrie explains:
For example, in the small organization I help run, we have two employees (both of whom happen to be women) who have similar titles and, on paper, similar responsibilities and backgrounds. However, one makes significantly more than the other. Why? The one with lower pay had a baby last year, and asked for a reduction in hours and responsibilities, and a limit on how much she would have to travel, in exchange for lower pay.
This seemed like a win-win for the organization and for our valued team member. We retained an experienced, productive employee; she now has the work-life balance she wanted. Yet if her counterpart were male, and our organization had to explain the earning differential to a bureaucrat and face the specter of a government sanction, we would have approached this situation very differently.
We might have had to tell our employee that we couldn’t offer the reduced employment option for fear it would appear as discrimination. She would either have to continue her job with her full responsibilities or quit. Both the organization and our working mom would have been worse off as a result.
And I don't know about you, but I consider my salary intimate information.
I have to report it to the IRS every year, but that should be enough.