Pay Equity–The Minnesota Experience

The concept of comparable worth is simple: jobs should be paid according to their value, whether the jobs are performed by men or by women. It says that pay should be based on the level of skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions required to do the job. It is hard to believe that such a common sense idea could generate such an emotional reaction.

In this essay I will describe Minnesota’s experience with pay equity at the state and local levels. Our experience leads us to believe that the arguments of the opposition are pure conjecture and that the scare stories about comparable worth are reckless and unfounded. Our experience shows that comparable worth can be achieved in an orderly fashion and at reasonable cost.