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comparable worth

John A. Fossum


Comparable worth is the notion that pay should be based on the relative value of jobs within employing organizations without regard to gender‐based differences in labor supply behavior and/or job segregation. Comparable worth was developed to address situations in which jobs held predominantly by women requiring substantial education and responsibility (e.g., registered nurses) are often paid less within employing organizations than jobs held predominantly by men that do not (e.g., carpenters and painters). The Equal Pay Act of 1963 requires men and women working in the same job or one with substantially similar requirements to be paid the same (unless there are bona fide differences in performance, experience, merit, and so forth). The Act lists factors to be compared in measuring similarity, including skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions. Comparable worth argues that pay for dissimilar jobs should be equal if the relative requirements across the factors are similar (or comparable). Comparability is determined by applying job evaluation to measure levels of skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions (or other similar factors) across a set of jobs ( see job evaluation methods ). Each job's point total is the sum of the measures across these factors. Jobs with equal points are considered of comparable worth and would be expected to be paid equally. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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