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Equal pay for equal work is the concept that individuals doing the same work should receive the same remuneration.

It is most commonly used in a context of sexual discrimination, as equal pay for women. Equal Pay does not simply relate to basic salary but also to the full range of benefits, non salary payments, bonuses and allowances that are paid.



Free market supporters believe that government actions to correct gender pay disparity serve to interfere with the system of voluntary exchange. They see the fundamental issue is that the employer is the owner of the job, not the government or the employee. The employer negotiates the job and pays according to performance, not according to job duties. A private business would not want to lose its best performers by compensating them less and can ill afford paying its lower performers higher because the overall productivity will decline.[1]

There are also specific affirmative defenses to the criticism above that government is forcing employers to pay less qualified workers the same as superior workers. The EPA’s four affirmative defenses allows unequal pay for equal work when the wages are set "pursuant to (i) a seniority system; (ii) a merit system; (iii) a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; or (iv) ... any other factor other than sex[.]" If an employer can prove that a pay differential exists because of one of these factors, there is no liability.


The U.S. Democratic Party has historically supported legislating equal pay for equal work. "When women still earn 76 cents for every dollar that a man earns, it doesn’t just hurt women; it hurts families and children. We will pass the 'Lilly Ledbetter' Act, which will make it easier to combat pay discrimination; we will pass the Fair Pay Act; and we will modernize the Equal Pay Act." (The 2008 Democratic Party Platform, p. 17) See: Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act


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