Equal Pay


The gender pay gap is the difference between the earnings of men and women, expressed as a ratio or a gap. The pay gap is calculated by dividing the median earnings of women by the median earnings of men. The gender pay gap varies across race/ethnicity, age, education, occupation, industry, and geographical location. However in every state and within nearly every occupation, the pay gap persists. The pay gap is worse for women of color and increases with greater educational attainment. 


There are a number of complex and often interrelated reasons that explain the existence of the gender pay gap. However, studies find that when factors which may explain pay differences are considered, such as education, experience, and occupation, some portion of the gender pay gap remains unexplained. In fact, one year after college, women were paid just 82% of what men with similar education and experience earned. [1]



Everyone from CEOs to managers to students can help close the gender pay gap. The information below highlights some ways to help close the gender pay gap. Find out about San Francisco Equal Pay Laws here.




The chart below summarizes compensation legislation and policies at the federal, state, and local level:







Employer Information Report (EEO-1)

Private employers with 100+ employees, including federal contractors

Data collection proposed February 2016, rescinded indefinitely by the Trump Administration in 2017

Employers would be required to collect and report data to provide the federal government with workforce profiles by race, ethnicity, sex, and job category, as well as aggregate data on pay ranges and hours worked.

Assists EEOC in identifying pay disparities that warrant further investigation and helps employers to prevent pay discrimination.

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP)

Federal government contractors and subcontractors

Submitted: 11/6/2014

Covered federal contractors and subcontractors must annually provide Summary Data on Employee Compensation, including W-2 earnings, number of employees, and hours worked by sex and race/ethnicity. Executive Orders in 2017 and 2018 incited an interal OFCCP directive issued in 2017 that lessens requirements for contractors and subcontractors that are religious entities. 

Protects workers and strengthens OFCCP’s ability to identify and remedy different forms of pay discrimination.

Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act – Obama Executive Order

All workers in US


Retroactive on 5/28/2007

Allows employees to sue for pay discrimination regardless of when the discrimination began.

Victims of unlawful pay discrimination are able to assert their rights under the federal anti-discrimination laws.

Equal Pay Act of 1963

All workers in US


Prohibits sex discrimination in pay for jobs that require substantially equal skill, effort, and responsibility. 

Makes it illegal to pay different salaries to employees doing equal work because of sex or gender.



CA Fair Pay Act (SB 358)

All workers in CA


Prohibits paying an employee less than employees of the opposite sex for substantially similar work “when viewed as a composite of skill, effort, and responsibility, and performed under similar working conditions.” Employers must prove pay differential is due to a “bona fide factor.” Prohibits retaliation against employees who inquire about or speak out against wage differences.

Protects employees who discuss pay. Strengthens the pay equity law to put burden of justifying pay differential on employer. Requires employers to maintain accurate records on pay scales, wage rates, and personnel data.

CA Equal Pay Act

All workers in CA

Enacted in 1949

Amended in 1985

Prohibits sex based wage discrimination for considerably equal work.

Requires equal pay for equal work unless pay differential is due to “any bona fide factor other than sex.”

Corporations: Board of Directors 

Publicly traded companies whose principle headquarters are in CA Enacted in 2018 Requires boards to have at least one woman by the end of 2019 and two to three women by the end of 2021 depending on the size of the board. Addresses the leadership gender gap, brings more female diversity to corporate decision-making.


San Francisco Equal Pay Ordinance

Contractors or subcontractors on large contracts for the City of San Francisco with at least 20 employees globally

Equal Pay Report annual submission begins: 7/3/2017

Requires a complete and accurate report to the Human Rights Commission annually that provides a summary of information on compensation paid to employees identified by sex, race, and data points. Human Rights Commission can investigate and recommend action if discrimination is found.

Encourages employers to identify pay discrimination by reviewing compensation by sex and race/ethnicity. Permits City to investigate suspected gender or racial wage discrimination.

San Francisco Parity in Pay Ordinance Applicants for employment with non-governmental employers when the applicants' work would be performed in whole or in part in San Francisco July 1, 2018 Prohibits employers, including City contractors and subcontractors, from asking applicants about their current or past salary; bans employers from considering an applicant’s current or past salary in determining whether to hire an applicant or what salary to offer (unless the applicant voluntarily discloses his or her current or past salary); and prohibits employers from disclosing a current or former employee’s salary without that employee’s authorization. Prevents employers from basing an employee's pay on their previous salary, which perpetuates prior pay inequities or gender wage discrimination.


[1] Graduating to a Pay Gap: The Earnings of Women and Men One Year after College Graduation. AAUW. 2012

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