Market forces and wage secrecy can contribute to a potential pay gap between genders, but that’s not the whole picture. To understand and address this potential issue, we need to broaden the scope of the conversation. It’s about disproportionate unemployment, facilitating home/work balance, and the demographics of advancement. Fortunately, many companies are recognizing the issues and making changes to reduce the inequality. Here are 4 key steps restaurants can take to make working conditions fairer.
1. Change Scheduling Procedures—Unpredictable or inflexible schedules can be challenging for working parents, especially women who tend to be the primary caregivers of children and aging parents. These workers regularly deal with challenges surrounding childcare schedules and concern over losing their jobs if they try to take off time to address family or personal needs. Improved scheduling processes can help ease this burden. This means creating a more consistent schedule and streamlining processes for shift change requests. Some cities and states have even created “right to request” laws. This allows employees to ask for more scheduling predictability from their employer without fear of retaliation. Managers who make scheduling accommodations retain valuable female employees, thereby addressing the gender pay gap by keeping these workers employed.
2. Offer Paid Sick Days— Millions of American workers do not have access to paid sick days, including 81% of food service workers. This issue disproportionately affects women who would need days off to care for ill children. Women who take unpaid days off make less than their male counterparts and even put their jobs at risk. For public health reasons alone, restaurants should consider offering paid sick days to discourage those employees from coming in and spreading illness. Additionally, providing paid sick days helps to close the gender pay gap and builds morale and loyalty among employees.
3. Raise the tipped minimum wage—The U.S. federal government requires a per hour $2.13 minimum wage for employees that earn at least $30 per month in tips. It’s a rate that hasn’t changed since the 1990s. Unfortunately, the salary of many tipped workers falls below the poverty line. Since women make up two-thirds of tipped workers, they experience the burden of this wage. If restaurants can individually raise the tipped minimum wage by a dollar or more, it can make a significant difference in reducing the gender pay gap. While this puts additional pay demands on the restaurants, many will be able to cover this cost by restructuring some of their operations.
4. Evaluate Hiring Practices— A restaurant can learn a lot about how they compensate their female employees by examining their hiring practices. Companies often make employment offers based on a woman’s previous salary or wages. When these earlier wages are lower than former male coworkers, it perpetuates a cycle of less pay. When hiring, restaurants may also offer wages based on the current pay scale of other women at the company, but this can likewise be flawed. Instead, it’s good practice to examine what a male employee would make in that same position to identify any inadvertent discrepancies. By analyzing these policies, restaurants can put into place hiring practices that reflect equal pay among the sexes.
Women have made advances in narrowing the gender pay gap. That said, women still earned 85% of what men earned in both full and part-time work in 2018. That means it would take an extra 39 days of work for women to catch up to men’s earnings. Fortunately, there are steps the restaurants can take to counteract this issue. From offering paid sick days to raising minimum wages, restaurants can set standards that will be emulated by other industries. Isn’t it time to close the gender pay gap?
Restaurant Magic Software has been providing advanced software solutions to the restaurant and hospitality industry for over 20 years. The robust Data Central Management Suite, the flagship product, is a powerful and flexible application that takes advantage of the latest technology trends to offer premier processing and analytics. With advanced forecasting, predictive scheduling and mobile technologies, Data Central has something for every problem. To learn more about Restaurant Magic Software and its products, call us at 1(800) 933-4711 or visit the website at RestaurantMagic.com.