Pay transparency is all the rage. It is however not a new issue, it is just an issue that has new import attached to it due to the new Executive Order that addresses pay transparency.
Executive Order 13665
In the spring of 2014 President Obama signed EO 13665, but it was not until September 15, 2015 that the Department of Labor put out their final rule on how the Executive Order was to be implemented. The Final Rule becomes effective on January 11, 2016. At that point it will be illegal for any Federal contractor, or subcontractor to discriminate against or terminate any employee for discussing, disclosing, or inquiring about their own pay or the pay of coworkers. It also protects applicants from inquiring about pay. According to the DOL ““it is a basic tenet of workplace justice that people be able to exchange information, share concerns and stand up together for their rights. But too many women across the country are in the same situation; they don’t know how much they make compared to male counterparts, and they are afraid to ask.” But will it make a difference?
Will this embolden women?
Looking beyond the collective (read union) sentiment expressed in “stand up together for their rights” I wonder if this new Executive Order will really make people, women in particular, more likely to ask about pay? Will this really provide someone with the desire to walk up to a co-worker and say “Tell me how much you make.” And if they do, what makes them think that person is likely to respond to them.
Most people I know, unless they are making a lot of money and like to brag about it, are loath to reveal how much they actually make. That goes for men and women.
Is pay transparency a bad thing?
I don’t think pay transparency is a bad thing. It does have its issues. I think that it does have a tendency to push pay to the center because the vehicle of reward of individual effort has been compromised with “fair” pay ideals, where “fair” equal “same.”
I am just not sure this executive order will have quite the impact they hope for, at least not in the initial years it is in place.
But that is just my opinion. I would love to hear yours.
Photo credit: Stuart Miles (amended)