The law that was penned into the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul bill requires companies to permit shareholders to vote on compensation packages for their top executives. But the requirement is only for one vote every three years and is non-binding.
The New York Times reported Wednesday shareholders are also showing little backbone when it comes to voicing their opinions on enormous pay packages that are rising at a rate far faster than the cost of living.
In 2013, close to 1,800 companies have held a "say on pay" vote and only 41 votes have come out negative, executive compensation consulting company Semler Brossy said.
In addition, Equilar, another executive compensation company, said 72 percent of companies that have held pay packages votes have met with approval at a rate of 90 percent or better.
A think tank, the Economic Policy Institute, found in a study corporate executives and financial companies accounted for the lion's share of why the pay gap between the rich and the poor is increasing.
That equal opportunity statistic, the consumer price index, was up 1.7 percent in 2012. By comparison, top executives pay packages rose by 24 percent in 2010 and by 6 percent in 2011, the Times reported.
In the same years, the median pay for U.S. workers fell behind, failing to keep up with inflation, the Times said.