Economic dignity and the safety to discuss it are at the core of workplace dignity, as compensation (salary, bonuses, etc.) is principally tied to the dignity-honoring elements of recognition, inclusion, and fairness. Employees should be paid equally for equal work in similar roles. Subjective factors that affect compensation should be reduced wherever possible, while factors that contribute to compensation decisions should be transparent.

Organizations must regularly review their compensation policies against industry and geographic standards, and adjust them as needed to ensure that they are providing their employees a living wage. (JUST Capital) This is the top expectation across all demographic groups in the United States. Executive teams need to know the lowest wage levels of the organization (or of contractors providing services) and do more to reduce inequities. If they don’t, their ability to attract and retain talent will suffer. Indeed, by May 2022, 87% of Americans agreed that the growing gap between CEO pay and median worker pay is a problem in the United States. (JUST Capital)

COVID-19 shined a light on the situations of vulnerable employees, many of whom will not question unfair wages due to risks to their psychological safety and the fear of losing their jobs. And they are often disproportionately affected by low wages. The pandemic, even in the early stages, crippled the four in 10 American adults who would have a hard time covering an unexpected $400 expense and exposed the 44 percent of the labor force that qualified as “low-wage.”

  • Compensation and related human resources teams (like benefits)

  • Board of directors (which often has a compensation committee)

  • Policy teams

  • Executive/senior leadership teams (which implement broad compensation-related decisions)

  • Inclusion and diversity teams

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