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Obama declares National Equal Pay Day

The President of the United States took a meaningful stance on pay equality for women this week when he declared a National Equal Pay Day. The day is aimed at raising awareness of the problem of unequal pay for equal work, specifically at the wage gap between men and women and between white workers and minorities.

Although it is illegal to discriminate and pay someone less based on their gender, the truth is that as a whole, women still make 23 percent less than men do.

Along with women, minorities also make less than white workers. Mr. Obama cited statistics showing that African American women and Latina women experience an even wider wage gap when compared with men.

Under the Equal Pay Act, women have the right to seek pay parity with their male colleagues. A recent update to that law enables workers to sue for equal pay for a longer period of time, extending the statute of limitations so that it renews for six months every time the worker gets a paycheck.

Sometimes workers find out that they are being paid less to do the same work and they assume that it is the result of differing qualifications or experience. However, the truth of the matter is that oftentimes it can be the result of systematic discrimination against female employees, whether it is intentional or not. Many employers fail to pay their female workers equally, including the White House, which recent statistics indicate pays the half of their staff who is female an average of 13 percent less than males.

Source: Washington Times, "Obama declares 'National Equal Pay Day' as gesture on gender bias," Cheryl K. Chumley, April 9, 2013.

More information about the Equal Pay Act and when it applies can be found on our website.

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