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Women’s Pay Differentials Factors that Affect

Literature review on women’s pay system and structure suggest that compensations are the expenses of the company and usually are formed from salary and additional payments. Nowadays compensations and benefits are one of the most important categories of expenses for most companies. They can be treated from different points of view. On the one side, this category of expenses is very important because it influences profits. On the other side, compensations and benefits can be used as the means for motivation and attraction of employees. In addition to the printed material each company makes available on its benefit plans and its related employee policies and practices, our information comes from interviews with human resource officers, front-line supervisors, and employees who themselves had experienced what it was like to become pregnant while working.

In the research, Appold (1998) suggests that the amount of pay a working woman may receive and the length of time she can receive it could therefore depend upon the type of plan from which her benefits are paid (sickness, short-term or long-term disability, salary continuation, etc.), the length of time she has worked for the firm, where she lives and works, the extent of her disability before and after childbirth, as stated by her doctor, and, of course, her wage or salary level. The author underlines the fact that to choose the correct compensation and benefits strategy, an organization has to specify the aims it wants to achieve and the employees it wants to work in. Every person has different income needs.

Gardner and Daniel (1998) discuss the role of equality and perception of women by men managers. They claim that the compensation and benefits strategy places the organization in a certain position in the job market and specifies the items in the total cash in the organization and their role. The role of different components of the compensation is very important because those components may differ. For example, the role of bonuses can be primarily in performance reward or the retention of the employees and the organization has to decide. The research stresses that the compensation and benefits package of this company is one that developed during a period of time. The management of the company says that compensation remains always a challenge for them because they do not want to be looking over the shoulder all the time, while at the same time they want to remain a competitive company.

Staveren and Odebode (2007) state that both the maximum weekly benefit and the maximum number of weeks the benefit can be paid are determined by the type of plan under which the benefit is provided. For most employees, the right to receive pay at the time depends on whether or not they have a right to a paid sick leave. Indeed, as we have stressed, for a substantial proportion of the workforce, sickness benefits alone, or perhaps in conjunction with vacation benefits, constitute an employee’s sole protection against income loss at the time of childbirth. In many cases, especially for employees with relatively brief periods of service, sickness benefits may mean the right to only two weeks’ pay when away from work because of illness, and then often only at half pay. The research vividly portrays that women employees who have worked for a firm for a long time usually have a longer benefit entitlement and at a higher level of payment, very few sickness benefit plans permit longer than four weeks and often then only through the right to accrue or accumulate unused sick leave, up to a specified maximum. This is a slow process. In many companies, employees accrue sick leave at the rate of one week per year.

The research studies provided by Phillips and Imhoff (1997) and Keaveny and Inderrieden (2000) share the same idea that for women pay differentials the label of sickness attached to the maternity benefit may carry stigma or penalty even though all concerned know that pregnancy and childbirth are not an illness and should not be viewed in the same light. An employee may find herself listed as out “ill” above average, even if she has seldom used sick leave before. Phillips and Imhoff claim that only a legislative or legalistic artifact requires that the label of sickness or disability be applied to pregnancy and maternity if there is to be income protection at that time. For instance, a single mother in a similar situation, but working for a national restaurant chain, said that as long as her combined sick leave and vacation benefits covered her for four weeks she was “home free” because of the company’s long-term disability plan went into effect then. How long an employee has worked for a firm has immediate consequences for the maximum duration of the benefit, especially if the maternity leave pay is made up of sickness benefits, or sickness and vacation benefits combined. In contrast to the previous research, Keaveny and Inderrieden (2000) suppose that idea that without exception among the companies we studied, employees are entitled to receive such benefits only after working for at least six months. Usually, they are entitled to a maximum of a week of sick pay only after one year. Even if they are permitted to accumulate unused sick leave, it is rare that an employer will permit accrual of more than four weeks (after that, some employers “cash-out” some proportion of the leave’s value). This usually means that if one depends on sickness benefits for maternity. coverage, only after about five years’ service–and minor use of sick leave–will a working woman have the right to a four-week paid leave, which, when coupled with the standard two-week vacation, would permit a six-week maternity leave at full pay.

The literature review suggests that geography plays an important role in determining whether a working woman receives any paid benefit at the time of maternity, as well as how much the benefit is. As researchers indicated, five states provide or mandate statutory temporary disability insurance that covers pregnancy and maternity as well as all other nonwork-related disabilities. For women working for small employers, especially employers who provide no private insurance coverage, and for women working at unskilled, low-wage jobs, such coverage is enormously important. The amount of compensation is determined due to the position of the company in the market, job evaluation, work effectiveness, services of an employee, and other factors. Usually, a small amount of compensation is determined by a great offer of employees and when there is demand for employees, the company will try to attract them with a wide range of compensations and benefits.

The results of the literature review allowed us to say that as several company human resources officers argued, the very large and leading companies were gradually moving toward providing low benefits for their female employees. Given the criterion of disability and related incapacity to work as the measure for the paid leave, the result is at best a very brief leave. Both the very medical advances that have increasingly defined pregnancy and childbirth as normal conditions, requiring only a brief convalescence, and the antidiscrimination measures that have insisted that women not be disqualified from work unless physically unable to carry on have spurred the shortening of the period women are viewed as disabled.


Appold, S. T. (1998). The Employment of Women Managers and Professionals in an Emerging Economy: Gender Inequality as an Organizational Practice. Administrative Science Quarterly, 43 (3), 538.

Gardner, F. Daniel, Ch. (1998). Implementing Comparable Worth/pay Equity: Experiences of Cutting-Edge States. Public Personnel Management. 475.

Keaveny, T. J., Inderrieden, E. J. (2000). Gender Differences in Pay Satisfaction and Pay Expectations. Journal of Managerial Issues, 12 (3), 363.

Phillips, S. D., Imhoff, A. R. (1997). Women and Career Development: A Decade of Research. Annual Review of Psychology, 48 (2), 43.

Staveren, van I. Odebode, O. (2007). Gender Norms as Asymmetric Institutions: A Case Study of Yoruba Women in Nigeria. Journal of Economic Issues, 41 (1), 903.


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