Making Pay Equity A Reality for All | Guest Blog by Melanie DellaPietra

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Making Pay Equity A Reality for All by Melanie DellaPietra

One of the things I’ve appreciated most about my entrepreneurial journey has been the opportunity to meet so many new people and gain exposure to new perspectives. Receiving an invitation to join the Pay Equity Coalition in planning their upcoming event was one of those opportunities. Until then, the true impact of the wage gaps I’ve seen on compensation reports wasn’t hitting me. I’ve seen women as the lowest paid in departments with all men and I’ve seen Black and Hispanic women as the lowest paid in departments with women and men. I mentally rationalized these discrepancies by saying the “lower paid employees have less experience” or “their roles are different from their counterparts.” I was wrong. These discrepancies are due to legacy corporate processes and structural systems that serve to perpetuate the problem at hand. During my time working with the Pay Equity Coalition I’ve come to realize the detrimental ripple effect these wage gaps have not only on the employees’ families, but our entire community. Compared with cities its size, Rochester ranks as the number one worst city in the United States for child poverty, with 52.5% of our city’s children in poverty.

  • We are first in the nation in the rate of extreme poverty, with 16.4% of the city’s population below half the federal poverty standard.
  • Children in poverty may experience increased crime, worsened health, and lower earnings as adults, due to educational gaps.
  • Closing the wage gap can accumulate to over $1,043,800 in the lifetime of individuals most affected by low wages.

During the Pay Equity rally on August 22nd, several speakers shared their lived experiences, historical perspectives and calls to action.

One speaker called upon those in positions of power to break the silence and boldly address the pay discrepancies plaguing our organizations. New legislation preventing questions about salary history and requiring equal pay for substantially similar work for all protected categories only go so far in addressing this pervasive issue. Business leaders and HR professionals need to create a plan of action to rectify the gaps that already exist by analyzing internal compensation reports, utilizing market data and including dollars for planned equity adjustments during budget planning. Going forward, it’s important that HR and hiring managers adhere to the new laws. If a position is budgeted to pay $15-$18 and a candidate with the right experience has shared with you that they are making (because some will still tell you) that doesn’t mean you pay them less and get a deal. Pay what the job and the employee are worth. As a candidate, if HR or a hiring manager asks you for salary history, reframe the question to instead share your desired salary range. If you’re pressed to share salary history, it’s likely a sign that this is not a place you’ll want to work.While the salary history ban goes into effect on January 6, 2020, the time is now to; and it is the responsibility of all stakeholders to make equal pay a reality for all.

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About Melanie DellaPietra

Melanie DellaPietra is the Founder of People Minded. By shifting from a focus on talent acquisition to talent development, Melanie helps teams unleash their untapped potential, reducing a reliance on external resources to close the gap. Through her partnership with Six Seconds, Melanie utilizes a variety of tools and assessments, to build bridges for discussing people performance and workplace dynamics in simple, human language. Melanie holds a Bachelors degree in Management from St.John Fisher College, a Change Leadership certificate from Cornell University and is a Certified Emotional Intelligence Assessor and Practitioner.


  1. Rochester NOW: Still unequal pay for equal work  | Democrat & Chronicle 
  2. Black , Latina women: How to fix NY’s wage gap that pays them cents to each dollar a man makes | Democrat & Chronicle 
  3. Roc La Cumbre 

Published by Melanie DellaPietra

Melanie is a dynamic and influential leader, skilled at creating and optimizing high performance teams, establishing next generation corporate transformation and aligning diverse constituencies towards a common goal.

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