Celebrate Equal Pay Day: Learn More About Recommendations for Systemic Change

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Monday, March 22, 2021

This year on Equal Pay Day we recognize the massive amount of work that still needs to be done to ensure Equal Pay for all.  Disparities in pay disproportionately impact women and people of color.  Research shows that for every dollar paid to a white man, employed full-time year-round:

  • Latina women were paid 54 cents
  • Native American women were paid 57 cents
  • Black women were paid 62 cents
  • White women were paid 79 cents
  • Asian American women were paid 90 cents

This wage gap is exacerbated by implicit bias in salary negotiations.  For example, research shows:

  • Women are viewed as less likeable when they negotiate and are less likely than men to get a raise when they ask for one.
  • Black applicants are expected to negotiate less than their White counterparts. When this expectation is violated, Black applicants are penalized with lower salary outcomes.

In the Staff Ombuds Office 2018-2020 Biennial Report and previous reports, we focused on how to combat pay inequity on the Berkeley campus, including eliminating policy, procedural and cultural barriers.  These systemic recommendations, include:

  • Promote Equal Pay Dayand increase awareness about unconscious bias and how it impacts salary negotiations and perpetuates pay inequities.
  • Conduct and publish a study of staff salaries, including analysis by gender and ethnicity.
  • Educate hiring managers about AB 168 that prohibits employers from inquiring into an applicants’ salary history or using it as a factor to set salaries as well as PPSM 30 that eliminates the 25% annual salary increase limit.
  • Publicize enforcement mechanisms and how violations of AB 168 and PPSM 30 should be handled. 
  • Create a transparent review process and access to information.
  • Create an equity review program that would allow non-represented employees to directly petition the Compensation Unit or a neutral designated board for review of pay equity issues.

While the Staff Ombuds Office cannot advocate for individuals, it does advocate for systemic change to help promote equal pay for all.  If you have concerns about your own compensation, the Staff Ombuds Office provides confidential coaching to help empower employees to effectively communicate and negotiate requests for equitable pay.  In addition, you can learn more about Equal Pay Day and negotiating your salary with the #EqualPayDay Coalition Toolkit(link is external) and this article by Glassdoor(link is external).

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