June 15th, 2023 is a significant date for highlighting wage disparities and LGBTQIA+ workplace challenges as Equal Pay Today partners with the LGBTQIA+ community to draw attention to discrimination. While the gender pay gap is regularly analyzed, accurate data on the LGBTQIA+ pay gap is not easily available. 

Taking place during Pride Month, LGBTQIA+ Equal Pay Awareness Day recognizes both the pay gap and the historical lack of data, which makes it difficult to understand the extent of wage disparities for the community. The limited data on the LGBTQIA+ pay gap includes the following:

  • Advocacy group the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) found that LGBTQIA+ employees earn 89 cents for every dollar earned in a week by the typical US worker. Wage disparities for LGBTQIA+ women, transgender men and women and people of color were greater. For transgender women, this falls to an estimated 60 cents for every dollar.  
  • Current analysis extends only to full-time workers. The HRC believes wage disparities would be greater if data for part-time workers was available. 
  • HRC found that one-third of LGBTQIA+ workers say they have faced workplace discrimination, which significantly impacts their financial well-being. 
  • A 2022 report from the Center for American Progress found that half of LGBTQIA+ people reported experiencing workplace discrimination in the past year. This includes harassment, being fired, denied promotions or facing reduced working hours. 
  • According to the National Women’s Law Center, non-binary, genderqueer, and genderfluid and Two Spirit workers earn approximately 70 cents for every dollar that a typical employee earns. 

Why is it difficult to promote LGBTQIA+ inclusion and identify wage disparities?

As mentioned, a major obstacle to wider LGBTQIA+ inclusion in the workplace and society is the slow progress towards data reporting. In addition, the Human Rights Campaign notes that “basic freedoms” for LGBTQIA+ people are missing in 29 states. 

Steps are being taken to ensure workplace equality and promote LGBTQIA+ rights in society, however. In June 2022, the House passed the LGBTQIA+ Data Inclusion Act. Bill HR 4176 would require federal agencies to incorporate questions relating to sexual orientation and gender identity when gathering demographic data. Bill HR 5: The Equality Act, which was passed by the House in 2021, would prevent LGBTQIA+ discrimination in employment, housing and other services. 

Further, January 2023 saw the Biden-Harris administration release the first Federal Evidence Agenda on LGBTQIA+ equity, providing a roadmap for federal agencies to gather vital data and evidence needed to improve the lives of LGBTQIA+ Americans. It is an important step in improving LGBTQIA+ rights and inclusion, however, the National Women’s Law Center called for an expanded collection of data to create a “fuller, more intersectional picture of the economic realities facing LGBTIA+ communities.” 

The benefits of workplace diversity

In March 2023, the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation published a study into the benefits of LGBTQIA+ workplace inclusion to encourage businesses to develop more inclusive practices. Its findings highlight the following benefits for employers embracing workplace diversity:  

  • Employers with LGBTQIA+ inclusive practices benefit from a positive impact on profitability and market valuation.
  • LGBTQIA+ inclusion improves business financial performance.
  • Employers committed to workplace diversity and LGBTQIA+ inclusion recorded 3% higher productivity levels than those that were less inclusive.
  • Among the top 50 Fortune 500 companies, companies that focus specifically on LGBTQIA+ inclusion attract more talent to their organizations. 

A global shift towards workplace equality

As we have previously highlighted, pay transparency legislation is constantly evolving in the US and globally, and pay equity must become a priority for employers in 2023

In a groundbreaking move, the EU incorporated measures to specifically identify the LGBTQIA+ pay gap by including non-binary people, and gender-neutral language and an intersectional lens in its Pay Transparency Directive.

In the UK, LGBTQIA+ rights charity, Stonewall publishes an annual Top 100 Employers list compiled from its voluntary Workplace Equality Index to encourage and enable employers to measure and improve their workplace diversity and inclusion. PwC in the UK also published its first LGBTQIA+ pay gap data in 2022. These are small, yet significant, steps.  

Promoting LGBTQIA+ inclusion in the workplace

The global movement towards true workplace equality is gathering momentum. Adopting the following strategies can enhance LGBTQIA+ inclusion in the workplace: 

  • The HRC recommends that employers include an employment nondiscrimination policy to incorporate “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” across their workforce. 
  • It also recommends implementing a policy of pay transparency to identify pay inequalities. Carrying out a pay equity audit to understand wage disparities in your organization is the first step. HRC also suggests an annual assessment of the data collected, broken down by sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity to ensure data-driven decision-making.
  • The US Chamber of Commerce report also promotes a data-driven approach to monitoring and evaluating LGBTQIA+ practices to drive progress towards workplace equality. This includes hiring, promotion, pay and employee retention data. 
  • Following the recent EEOC Title VII guidance relating to AI discrimination, employers should ensure they partner with a pay equity software provider that can help to identify and eliminate bias in pay disparities. The EEOC has also published guidance for employers to ensure equity for LGBTQIA+ employees and job candidates. 

Trusaic PayParity conducts a pay equity audit across your workforce at the intersection of factors such as gender, race/ethnicity, age, and disability, identifying risk areas for remediation and pay gaps within every employee group and at every level in your organization. 

Every employer has a part to play in creating a more inclusive society. At Trusaic, we believe in equal pay advocacy and in creating a better working world for all. Our goals include enabling employers to achieve pay equity and foster a more diverse and inclusive workforce. When you partner with us we help you to interpret your data and create actionable strategies that enable you to take better care of your employees.

Implement a strategy to identify and close the LGBTQIA+ pay gap. Talk to one of our pay equity experts today.

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