This year the nation marked Equal Pay Day (the symbolic day when women’s earnings finally catch up to men’s earnings from the previous year) on April 8th. I was lucky enough to be able to “celebrate” by standing with President Obama at the White House as he signed two critical executive actions to address the problem of unequal pay in the federal contractor workforce.
Yes, that’s right — women overall have to work three months into the new year before their wages catch up to men’s. Even worse, when you look at the data by race and gender together it is clear that it takes even longer for women of color to catch up. That’s because the wage gaps experienced by women of color are substantially larger than for women overall. Women overall typically make only 77 percent of what men make for full time, year round work — but, for example, for African American women and Hispanic women compared to white, non-Hispanic men this figure is 64 cents and 54 cents, respectively.
Which brings us to late July — the time when we will finally reach Equal Pay Day for African American women. Read more »
This summer could represent a big moment in the fight to close the wage gap in New Jersey. Two bills aimed at addressing pay discrimination recently cleared both of the houses of the state’s legislature — the Unfair Wage Recovery Act and the Wage Transparency Act. But Governor Christie has previously vetoed both these key pieces of legislation, and so the question is — will he stand in the way of progress toward equal pay yet again?
The Unfair Wage Recovery Act is modeled on the federal Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act — a landmark law adopted five years ago that kept the doors of the federal courthouse open for workers who experience pay discrimination. This bill would provide that the time period for a person to bring a pay discrimination suit under New Jersey state law re-starts each time that the person receives a paycheck that reflects discrimination. This would ensure that victims of discrimination won’t be denied a remedy just because they weren’t aware of discrimination until years later, and that employers will have the right incentives to promptly root out and eliminate any unfair pay disparities.
Hallmark doesn’t make a card to give mothers on June 12th – but they should. June 12th is Mother’s Equal Pay Day—the day that marks how far mothers have to work into this year (in addition to working all of last year) to earn as much as fathers did last year alone. Read more »
A friend of mine is bringing a group of middle schoolers to D.C. next month for a field trip about inequality and social justice. She asked if I knew of any good resources about the economic challenges women face. As it turns out, yes. Yes, I do.
From poverty and low-wage work to retirement savings, women face unique obstacles in providing for themselves and their families in the United States. Earlier this week, the Senate Budget Committee held a hearing on expanding economic opportunities for women and, with Senator Patty Murray leading the way, the conversation focused on the valuable contributions women have made to the economic security of their families and their country – and the need to remove barriers that still lie in the way. Read more »
Since Wednesday this week, media sources have been asking why Jill Abramson was fired from her job as executive editor of the New York Times. Articles suggest that Abramson discovered that her pay and pension benefits were significantly less than the pay and pension benefits of the male editors who held both the executive editor and managing editors roles before her. Abramson raised her unequal pay with the higher ups, and according to sources, was then fired a few weeks later. Read more »
On Wednesday the New Hampshire House of Representatives is expected to vote on S.B. 207, New Hampshire’s Paycheck Fairness Act. This session S.B. 207 has garnered the unanimous support of the New Hampshire state Senate, and recently passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support. The bill includes a number of important provisions to strengthen equal pay protections in the state.
But now your help is needed to stop a bad amendment to this bill. Read more »
In states across the country, this has been a banner year for agreement across the aisle about the importance of safeguarding women’s rights at work. First Governor Chris Christie signed a law – adopted with just a single dissenting vote in the state legislature – ensuring that pregnant workers in New Jersey with medical restrictions will have access to basic workplace accommodations that they need to continue performing their jobs and earning income for their growing families. Then similar protections for pregnant workers became law in West Virginia with unanimous support.
And now both New Hampshire and Minnesota are poised to improve protections for women in the workplace after the legislatures in both states took bipartisan actions earlier this week!
As news coverage this week made clear, enacting measures to achieve equal pay is a high priority for many in Congress. But it is also a high priority for lots of states. For example, recently enacted and pending state legislation would: end retaliation against workers for discussing their pay; strengthen state equal pay laws; and ensure that workers have sufficient time to bring pay discrimination cases.
Combating Punitive Pay Secrecy – A woman can go years being paid less than her male coworker across the hall for doing the same work and never even know it. This is no accident – many employers keep employees in the dark about what others are making through punitive pay secrecy policies that threaten punishment for discussing pay. Some states are combating this problem by prohibiting employers from preventing employee discussions about pay and retaliating against employees that do engage in such discussions. Last year alone, Louisiana (for state employees), New Jersey and Vermont joined the ranks of states offering this sort of protection to workers. And this year there are bills pending in the District of Columbia, Indiana, Louisiana (for all employees), Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York and Pennsylvania to do the same. Read more »
Yesterday, in a bipartisan vote of 106-24, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed the Women’s Economic Security Act. This comprehensive bill includes a range of important reforms to promote workplace equality for the state’s women, and enhance economic security for them and their families, such as:
Enabling women to learn if they are experiencing pay discrimination without fear of retaliation;
Ensuring that businesses that contract with the state government comply with equal pay standards;
Promoting women’s access to high-wage, high-demand jobs and the development of women-owned businesses;