Equal Pay Day will land on March 15, 2022

February 24, 2022
Check Team

by 
Check Team

This year’s Equal Pay Day will be March 15th, 2022. The day was created to raise awareness for the gender pay gap between men and women’s wages. The mid-March date was calculated based on how far into the current year the average American woman* must work to earn the same wage the average man earned the year prior. Put differently, it takes women today almost 15 months to achieve what their male counterparts can in 12.
*the date for women of color has not yet been calculated for 2022

Our mission at Check is to make paying people simple. It is a broad mission that includes  helping individuals gain agency in how they are paid, making pay timelines more flexible and bringing awareness to pay inequities. We use Equal Pay Day as a milestone to celebrate work done over the past year to contribute to fairness in pay, and to outline the work we will embark on over the next 12 months. Employees across the company are encouraged to get involved and share ideas. This year, we hope to inspire more companies to commemorate this day and shine a spotlight on the injustice women in our country face. Outlined below are three steps that you can take to prepare for March 15th and to honor the women in your workplace.

1) Ask employees to wear red

An easy way to build awareness around the pay gap is to encourage your employees to wear red on March 15th, 2022. The National Committee on Pay Equity says that wearing red “symbolizes how far women and minorities are ‘in the red’ with their pay.” It is a simple yet effective way to unite your company, open up a dialogue with employees, and show support. At Check, we plan to take this dialogue one step further by organizing a fireside chat with Ginny Lee, a former senior executive in the payroll industry and current Check advisor. We’re excited to learn more about how we can join in the fight against pay inequity in our daily lives.

2) Create salary bands for your employees

Pay inequities look different across industries and between workplaces. In the tech community where many are salaried, pay gaps often emerge when offers for employment are made. According to Linkedin’s Gender Insights Report, women feel they need to meet 100% of the criteria in order to apply for a job, in contrast to men who usually apply after meeting about 60%. The Harvard Gazette shares that “men are far more at ease with self-promotion than women, which contributes to a broad disparity in promotions and pay.”

One proven way to combat this pattern is to decide on a salary band for each position before recruiting begins. With clear expectations around what pay should be for a role, negotiation becomes less of a factor. In this spirit, states such as New York and Colorado have begun to legally require that salary bands be posted for new positions. Similarly, in California, if a candidate asks what the salary band is for a position they are applying for, it is required for the company to share the range they expect to pay. 

Last year, to further pay transparency and equity at Check, we committed to building salary bands for all positions. This helped us scale from 20 to 100+ employees fairly and created new learnings for us on fairer practices surrounding hiring, promotions, and market adjustments. 

If creating salary bands for every department and level at your company seems daunting, start simple. When you open a new role, try: 

  • Using a benchmarking service like Assemble or Pave to see how your team’s compensation compares to the market and to help determine fair pay for the new position. 
  • Leveraging outsourced recruiting agencies to gauge what they're seeing in the market and what your company will need to do to stay competitive.
  • Meeting with your key hiring stakeholders (executives, recruiters, hiring managers, etc.) to agree on what feels like a fair range, and make sure you apply it consistently to your current team and new hires.

3) Review internal pay data and make market adjustments

To build a pay gap-free world, it’s necessary to regularly review the internal pay gap that might develop between employees of different demographics and backgrounds at your company. If you already have a leveling framework, within each level and team compare the salaries of men and women to see if there is a disparity. Then make salary adjustments as needed. If you don’t yet have a leveling framework for your employees, maybe now is the time to consider putting one in place - it’s an important foundation for determining performance expectations and fair pay. While this might sound like a complicated exercise, there are several reasons to consider it. 

First, it sends a strong message to your company that you care about improving the gender pay gap. When employers take action on this, employee loyalty (and retention) increases. Second, it is currently an employees’ market. Unemployment is low, hovering around 4% according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employees across the country are quitting their jobs for better pay, benefits, and flexibility, as well as workplace cultures that make them feel valued. By making fair market adjustments and recognizing  the inequity they may have experienced in the past, you are taking a positive step towards valuing your talent.  

At Check we have formalized this process. We update our pay bands each year, for all teams and job levels, based on the current hiring market trends and data. If we find that any of our employees are paid below our newly updated bands, we make “market adjustments” to bring them back within the band so we can say with confidence that we pay our team competitively and fairly. This process ensures fairness for Check employees of all genders and races. On top of this, we also have two performance review cycles per year, where we recognize employee contributions with “performance adjustments” and promote team members who have truly gone above and beyond. 

This is the first of several blog posts we plan to share over the next month, in an effort to bring awareness to the gender pay gap. If you are interested in getting involved in our Equal Pay Day work, have questions about our practices, or want to mindmeld on new ideas, reach out to us here.

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