Equal pay for equal work has been a fundamental concept in employment law in the United States for very long time. The concept has been federal law since the early 1060s when President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act. This does not mean that the concept has been successful in practice.
There have been many challenges within employment law related to the equal pay laws, but one would expect that the federal government, at least, would have set pay scales in such a way as to ensure women working for federal agencies earn the same as men doing equivalent jobs.
This is not the case, as a 2009 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that women in the federal government earn 11 cents less per dollar than men doing the same work. This is much better than the private sector, where women earn 28 cents less for every dollar than men do, but the GAO noted that the majority of the difference, 7-cents, was not due to education or years of experience.
The Obama administration has asked the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to study what can be done to eliminate the pay differential. OPM is to examine agency specific practices, especially those relating to those who provide care for family members. They will also review agency specific policies affect the pay of those who work part time or have returned from leave for care giving activities for family members.
If you believe your pay rate could be lower due to discriminatory factors, you may want to speak with an employment law attorney.
Source: FederalNewsRadio.com, “Obama tasks OPM with tackling equal pay in government,” Jack Moore, May 10, 2013