Equal Pay Law passes PA House

HARRISBURG, May 6 – A bill (H.B. 98) introduced by state Reps. Donna Bullock, Melissa Shusterman and Jenn O’Mara known as the Equal Pay Law, which would expand protections against wage discrimination, was passed by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives today.

The legislation would prohibit employers from discriminating and paying workers less because of their gender, race or ethnicity. It would also add protections for retaliation and increase monetary penalties from $50-$200 to $2,500-$5,000 in cases where employers discharge or discriminate against an employee for filing a complaint.

And, the legislators said, it would enhance pay transparency by requiring employers to include the expected compensation or the range for any position the employer publicly advertises as a job opening and to a prospective employee applying for employment upon reasonable request.

“It’s well known that women, and especially women of color, have been insufficiently paid in the workplace. This is despite doing the same tasks, performing the same jobs, and sometimes doing them much better than our counterparts,” said Bullock, D-Phila. “This is a step toward economic justice. We moved this legislation forward to ensure all Pennsylvania workers receive equal pay for equal work and eradicate wage disparity once and for all. It's time for the Senate to do the same.”

"We could add a staggering $482 billion to the U.S. economy by ensuring equal pay for equal work. We're talking billions in lost wages for women that they could spend on basic necessities, like food and clothing for their families,” said Shusterman, D-Chester. “Simply by paying women what they've earned, we could reduce the number of working women and single mothers living in poverty by half. This bill is about valuing women, and it's long overdue."

“The gender pay gap disproportionately affects working mothers, as they’re only bringing home about 70 cents to every working father’s dollar. This creates the harsh economic reality for some families that it makes more sense financially for a mother to sacrifice her career in order to save on child care expenses,” said O’Mara, D-Delaware. “However, by backing policies like ours that promote gender equity in the workplace, we move closer to closing the gender pay gap. It's about ensuring women aren't paid less than men for the same work. All Pennsylvanians should have the opportunity to work hard, contribute to society, and support themselves and their families.