Equal Pay Act, 1963 is a Federal Law in the United States of America. The Act is an amendment to the Fair Labour Standards Act. Under the provisions of this Act, there shall be no discrimination on the basis of gender while distributing wages. The Act was drafted by the United States Congress and was signed into law by President John F. Kennedy on June 10, 1963.
According to the Congress, discrimination on the basis of gender leads to the following problems:
a) Unequal distribution of wages leading to differences in living standards which impacts the health and efficiency of employees
b) Labour disputes
c) Unequal pay for the same work and same talent - unfair
d) Impacts the economy by obstructing free flow of goods and services
Provisions of the Act
a) No employee shall discriminate between employees on the basis of gender by paying wages at different rates to employees of different genders for equal work, which requires equal skills, effort, and responsibility and which is performed under similar working conditions
b) Exception – wages can be differentiated on the basis of seniority or merit or a verified system which measures quality or quantity of production or a differential system that does not include gender as one of the factors.
The provisions of the Act not only apply to salary and overtime but are also applicable to bonus, profit sharing, stock options, insurance, vacation or holiday pay, travel reimbursement, and other benefits.
Women’s salaries have increased to approx. 80% of men’s salaries from 62% in 1979 – Bureau of Labour Statistics. However, the goals of EPA are yet to be achieved, according to the Congress. An Act named Paycheck Fairness Act is supposed to amend the provisions of the EPA to include factors other than gender into the list of factors that an employee cannot be discriminated against while distributing wages.