Equal Pay Act


Explanation and Analysis of the Document

Part (d)(1) of Section 206 (“Minimum Wage”) of the Equal Pay Act makes the intent of the law clear: “No employer . . . shall discriminate . . . between employees on the basis of sex by paying wages . . . at a rate less than the rate at which he pays wages to employees of the opposite sex.” This section uses the phrase “subject to any provisions of the section.” The law at this time did not cover white-collar and professional employees, that is, employees in executive and administrative positions; it also did not include outside sales representatives. In this regard, the Equal Pay Act was consistent with the Fair Labor Standards Act. That provision was changed nine years later to exempt professionals from the 1938 act and thus include them in the provisions of the Equal Pay Act.

The act lists four exceptions. Payment disparities are allowed if they are part of a seniority system, if they are part of a merit system, if they are part...

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John F. Kennedy (Library of Congress)

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