Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Equal Pay Bill Unveiled in PA Women's Rights Agenda

Tom Joseph, Public News Service-PA
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A bill on the table in Harrisburg aims to ensure that women in Pennsylvania aren't making less money than men only because they're women.

House Bill 1890 would clarify the reasons why an employer could legitimately pay different wages to workers - such as for different levels of education, training and experience. Its sponsor, state Rep. Brian Sims, D-Philadelphia, said it also offers protections for a woman who wants to find out where she stands in terms of compensation.

"We're introducing legislation that's going to remove the barriers to employees and women that was preventing them from determining what their peers are making, from disclosing their salaries, and from really finding out if, in fact, they're being paid less than their peers because of their gender," he said.

While pay-equity laws have been around for four decades or more, Sims and co-sponsor, Rep. Erin Molchany, D-Allegheny, believe women are still being shortchanged. Sims called the bill a simple matter of fairness and a key part of the larger "Pennsylvania Agenda for Women's Health."

"When people are paid a fair wage, when people are paid at their full value, they have more opportunity to lead the type of quality life that I think that they should be entitled to," he said.

The bill is part of a larger package of legislation addressing such issues as workplace accommodations for pregnant women, increased eligibility for breast and cervical cancer screenings and protections for victims of domestic violence.

The bill's text is online at legis.state.pa.us.

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