April 12, 2016 is National Equal Pay Day – the date which symbolizes the additional days into the current year women must work, on average, to reach the average pay of men during the previous year.

In the past year, the emphasis on fair pay has continued to grow. In fact, 2015 and the early parts of 2016 have seen increased emphasis and focus on identifying, exposing and eradicating pay discrimination.

With the enactment of the California Fair Pay Act, and passage of similar laws in New York and other jurisdictions, employers across the country (not just federal contractors) need to be aware of obligations (and prohibitions) when it comes to pay equity.

Additionally, with the EEOC proposal to collect pay data which, if made final, would require all employers with more than 100 employees to annually submit employee pay information to the federal government, employers need to take a hard look at their pay practices to ensure they do not impose barriers to fair pay. For covered federal government contractors there is a duty to undertake an annual review of your pay systems.

So what does this mean?

  • Employers should consider undertaking proactive pay analyses
  • The analyses should be conducted under privilege
  • Companies should develop a plan to address unexplained pay differences identified by the analyses

In an increasingly transparent landscape, where there is a growing expectation to share pay information, make sure your company understands the impact of its comp practices before it is required, or decides, to disclose the information because, “what you don’t know, CAN hurt you.”