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Monday, June 4, 2012

Payroll Secrecy

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When I was in the workforce, I couldn't understand why supervisors were not allowed to disclose their salary. I can understand someone wanting to keep their payroll information to themselves but our company did not allow those in management to disclose their salary even if they wanted to. It became quite a guessing game for the underlings.

It didn't matter if the workers disclosed because everyone was paid on a progression scale based on their service dates. No big secret. Then some companies started grading their workers, and assigned them to classes (A, B &C) according to value to the company. When that system went into place; the company did not their employees to discuss their wages. It was a firing offense.

"The Institute for Women’s Policy Research has found that nearly half of all workers are either forbidden or strongly discouraged from sharing that information, yet “pay secrecy makes it difficult for women and men to find out whether they are paid fairly, and undermines attempts to reduce the gender wage gap.”

The senate is trying to correct some fallacies in the Paycheck Fairness Act by ensuring that employees are allowed to talk to each other about their wages but I have my doubts that it will pass. Their goal is to stop the gender gap.

I'm in a dilemma, on one hand I believe employers should be able institute rules for the workplace but on the other hand I don't want them to abuse their power by discriminating on how they pay their employees. I believe women should get equal pay for equal work but if a company is not going to do that; they should be upfront.

I never really cared what other people made as long as I received a paycheck. Then again I wasn't discriminated against because of my gender.


dale said...

It comes down to this. Freedom of speech. If you muffle one, all are muffled. If you strip one of liberty, all liberties are stripped. IF you can dumb down the Masses with a "equality for all mentality" you have mediocrity.

I believe we have muffled, stripped and made mediocre of everything which we had in the past. Where once we (the children) were encouraged to be the BEST. Now, we want every child to get a medal and feel good. And that is why we now admire the Asian immigrant. They are now, what we were then. But, doesn't everyone being equal make you feel good?

Maybe being a Libertarian renting space with the rs, is not such a bad place to. I can point to a better place, lead my son there and tell my r half-brothers what they are missing. Liberty is not such a bad thing after all. See, I am learning something from my liber(al) brother, from the same father... George Washington.

And now business uses threats in order to hold down the cost of business. But aren't the business owners part of my rented party? They learned the party line well, don't they?

Mike said...


I can see your point and there is not a lot I disagree with.

To me,equality means a level playing field. I agree, we shouldn't give trophies or medals to everyone because it cheapens the ultimate goal.

Your last sentence made me do a retake on this issue.

Mike said...

I'm in a good mood today so I thought I would just leave this link of Obama sing" So call me maybe"..:-)

It's really a parody but I'm beginning to like these things.

Mike said...

Dale based on what you wrote about the Paycheck Fairness Act and businesses is Rand Paul wrong for saying" Paul, a staunch libertarian, said" passing a law that would have given judges more leeway to determine if a woman had been paid unfairly would be a step toward reviving the Soviet Union's notorious central governing body here. The United States' free market, he argued, works much better at setting wages at the appropriate level."

dale said...

"The minute you set up a fairness czar to determine what wages are, you give away freedom." Rand Paul quote from the article you noted.

Each employee and individual, in a free society, has the right to stay or walk. Work or strike. Be employed or the employer. Government can and should be the director of what should be fair and equal. I can not stand and will not support any business I perceive to be discriminatory to a person due to sex, race or religious belief.

Pay, that is another thing. 18 years ago at a sales meeting of a yellow page company I was made the butt of the joke. I had a bad couple weeks and after deductions I was left with 69 cents. The boss handed out everyones checks and congratulated me. Immediately, I turned, walked and started my own company in a different industry.

I could have filed a law suit. I could have cried. But I did take my talents, became self-employed and never looked back.

Freedom, gives us alot of things. That includes sucking it up and staying in a bad situation due to unfair pay.

Mike said...

Like Gov. Walker's win tonight ,money always wins.
Government is the equalizer over companies that fill government contracts...The people's money.

dale said...

And one day soon we will explore the evils incurred upon business when "partnerships" are sought. No, not partnerships between businesses but between government and business. The threat of the loss of "your own money" is the inhibitor of stupid ideas and stupid projects.

Pay checks and government. Partnerships and stupid ideas. It all starts with greed and a lack of fear of being discovered.

Edith Ann said...

Yes and no, Dale--

When folks like Walmart move into areas where wages are very low and other options are almost non- existant, folks don't always have the freedom to walk away. If they were to walk, then they might have to rely on social services and some of you freak at that thought! If your choice is the lesser of two evils, then you pick one and stay. Not every person can or should be self employed. I don't have to tell you that being self employed carries a lot of risks. It is not the answer for everyone.

You said--"I can not stand and will not support any business I perceive to be discriminatory to a person due to sex, race or religious belief." Do you spend any money at Walmart?

Mike said...

I have to admit that I shop at Sam's and WalMart but I was really surprised to see Costco ask the state of New York to raise the minimum wage.

"As lawmakers in Albany, N.Y., contemplate a boost to the state's minimum wage, a group of business leaders came out Thursday in support of hiking the wage floor from $7.25 to $8.50, putting unusual pressure on state Republicans and Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to shepherd the raise into law.

It's typically low-wage worker advocates and labor unions urging lawmakers to raise the minimum wage. So the statements made Thursday by business figures, including the head of the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce and an executive of big-box wholesaler Costco, undermine the stated concerns of some GOP lawmakers and industry lobbies that a $1.25 raise to the minimum wage would be an unfair burden on state businesses."

I"ve heard the Ron Paul talking points Dale is using but it doesn't work....For example,Ron and Rand Paul are against the Civil Rights bill because of their love for property rights. They say that people won't go to those establishments that discriminate but that's not true nor is that the point....Example,the bigots might have a lot of establishments off a major highway making it impossible for blacks to use the restroom or buy food...That's wrong.


By government contracts,I meant the defense department has to buy their food, automobiles and trucks, and other necessities from the private sector using taxpayer money. I'm pretty sure taxpayers don't want their money to go to companies that discriminate.

Edith Ann said...

One of the very nicest things about Costco is the way they treat employees. The are on the record as being good employers.

It is night and day difference across the board between Sam's and Walmart. I do not shop at Walmart.

dale said...

I do not buy ANYTHING at Wal-Mart. My son worked at Walmart and will no longer step foot into. For lumber I go to Anchor, McCoys or Zarsky. If these can not be found I will go to HD or L. Grocery - Save A Lot, HEB Laurent or Dicks. Pharmacy... you get the picture. WalMart leaves no money in Victoria and not much more in Texas.

Let me assure you, I use no Ron or Rand Paul "talking points". My beliefs, principles and values were in place long before either of these fine gentlemen came around. It is only after I found first hand that "my Party" did not belong to "the real grassroots" that I became a person of action. So if you want to credit Ron or Rand with something, credit them with voicing the beliefs of the Grassroot Republicans. We are the ones whose beliefs are written in the party platforms. But we are also the ones who are served only election day by our Establishment. After election day they go about ruining the country and ignoring the Constitution for their personal greed and power.

Does that clarify, who I am? I have no talking points. What I have are the words and experiences passed to me by my Grandfather (who survived the Great Depression through hard work and a faith in God) and Father (who lost friends and family in WWII). I own my experiences and first hand observations. I know when we are lied to. Finally, I am a member of the true Republican ideals. I knew that Party, I do not know this one. :)

Mike said...

Perhaps you and BigJ can start a new party...:-)

I liked the deal making GOPers like Senator Jack Kemp. .This current crop who won't deal at all.

Do you want the old GOP who were in the basement for 40 years?

Edith Ann said...

Well, I am glad to hear you don't use Walmart! Thank you!

Legion said...

Back to the topic of the blog, a company revealing and justifying wages of their workers.

Two points, that have nothing at all to do with any kind of discrimination.

1. In a quarterly, immediate boss and employee meeting, the boss announces raises to employees that might have not worked for the company as long but are better at their job. The result? The employees that have worked for the company longer feel slighted, " Why the Hell did that person get a raise, this is bullshit!" ... and it effects their work performance.

2. In a privately held company most of the employees are family. If a lesser paid employee gets a raise the news spreads fast and the higher paid employees also think they deserve a raise, because, well, "_____ is getting paid more, so should I!"

IF a company has to divulge a discrepancy in pay wages, it should be only be known to the government and not shared with employees, like the HIPAA rules.

Then again, if the government rules a company is under paying some employees and they get a raise, what's the difference? It would eliminate the hurt feelings and "screw the boss" attitude the employees can get if they know every one else s pay.

dale said...

I will have trouble with the government.

Currently, there is the form 5500 which provides basic information for company benefits for 25+ employees. Does a mini wage help anyone? From my experience when min wage increases, so too do most other costs. In the end, did the min wage employees standard of living raise? No. Did some folks get priced out of the wages because fewer were available to spread among workers?

Perhaps there should be an employee threshold count for wage reporting similar to the 5500? If you are going to "post" wages ranges should it not be to allow the market place to determine wage rates? Companies who marketplace cheat their employees wouldn't want anyone to know how badly they are cheated.

Mike said...

Good points, Legion and you are right; work place pay jealously is something a company wants to avoid.

When about 200 were retiring, a lot of us congregated around the break rooms discussing our P3, a formula that took our 3 highest years multiplied that by years of service and divided it by 3 to arrive at our pension amount and it factored in overtime pay and no extra amount was added for being a supervisor....... It wasn't a problem when the occasional retiree left....One day a supervisor who was going to retire with us, overheard our discussion and quickly realized that we low lifers were going to retire with a bigger pension than him...My other worker friend just had to rub it in by saying something like " that's what you get for all that prestige" and the supervisor turned a beet red before getting into the face of my friend.....The company didn't think of that situation but then again it was the first time that they had downsized before selling to another company.

I know it sounds silly but I wouldn't have any problem if the company hung up a sign stating "It is our policy to pay women less than men for doing the same job."..At least then the women wouldn’t get their hopes of being paid like their male counterpoints....If you are going to discriminate, own up to it and then people can take it, leave, or report you.

The classification grades I mentioned were tied into pay scales....I remember some award ceremonies where some employees were paid a larger bonus than the rest of us because of their contributions...They immediately told us the amount and the resentment

Mike said...

I don't think companies have the conscience you give them credit for.

I remember the day companies competed for employees but that's long gone..It's all about the bottom line now and a high turnover is the norm rather than retaining good employees.

Example, right now companies are calculating environmental fines over more production and in Massachusetts they are seeing if paying a fine would be cheaper rather than provide insurance for their employees.

Minimum wage is not as big a burden as some companies make it out to be....They spend just as mush lobbying against it...Henry Ford saw that his employees could never afford to buy his cars with the wages he was paying them,so he raised their pay and came up with an installment plan...Then he got interest.loyal employees and new customers would continue to buy cars and related products.

Anonymous said...

of course most compnies have no conscience. if they did we would have more manufacturing and exec bonuses