In Des Moines Register’s recent article about the pay gap between men and women working for the State of Iowa, the headlines and introductory paragraphs seemed to imply that there is something wrong about the fact that men working for the State get paid, on average, about $5,300 more than women. (See link below.) The proper question that needs to be asked and answered is: Are men and women with substantially the same job and qualifications paid differently or treated differently?
The full article was fairly balanced. Toward the end of the fairly lengthy article the Register reported: “A 2006 study at the University of Iowa found that almost all faculty pay variations were the result of known factors that were expected to affect salary, including the discipline taught, seniority, tenure status and faculty rank.” “When those factors were taken into account, ‘there were no overall statistically significant gender- or minority-status based salary differences,’ Jeneane Beck, a University of Iowa spokeswoman, said.” Also further down in the article the Register quoted Iowa State University economist, Dave Swensen, saying, “It remains that large fractions of administrative support employment are female, which do earn substantially less than management, technical and other professional occupations,”
So, although there may or may not be some isolated problems, overall there appears to be no overall problem with the pay difference that was reported.
Thanks to the Des Moines Register for its expose’ on Iowa state worker’s overtime pay. It appears very clear that much of the excessive overtime worked is during the last few years of employment before retirement for the purpose of “spiking” pension benefits. That is just plain wrong. The calculation already includes only pay during the last five years of employment – presumably the highest five years. So why should we add overtime pay on top of that? Overtime pay should especially be excluded from the pension benefit calculation since, as reported by the Register, overtime is offered first to those with the most seniority. This clearly creates a system that can be “gamed” by those who are close to retirement. We need to change the law to disallow the inclusion of overtime in the calculation of state worker’s pension benefit.
Link to Register articles: