New Equal Pay Coalition Files Comprehensive Pay Equity Legislation

An Act to establish pay equity: House Docket 2802, Senate Docket 1423

Lead Sponsors: Sen. Patricia Jehlen (D-Somerville), Rep. Jay Livingstone (D-Boston), Sen. Karen Spilka (D-Ashland), Rep. Ellen Story (D-Amherst)

Boston– The Equal Pay Coalition is proud to announce the filing of “An Act to establish pay equity.” This bill takes an innovative and cost-effective approach to addressing two key elements of the gender pay gap: women earn less than men in the same jobs, and women are not moving up to leadership roles at the same rate as men.

This bill proposes key changes such as protecting employees’ freedom of speech regarding pay, eliminating the use of salary history in the hiring process, requiring compensation to be based on comparable skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions and requiring employers to include minimum pay in job postings. The bill’s approach is business-friendly because it has little to no cost to implement, allows employers to gradually achieve pay equity, and it builds on other diversity and pay equity efforts already in place at many companies and organizations.

Recently formed, the Equal Pay Coalition currently includes the Women’s Bar Association (WBA), the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Organization for Women (Mass NOW), the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women (MCSW) and the Massachusetts Employment Lawyers Association. The coalition will continue to grow in the coming months to include community-based organizations, businesses, and other allied groups.

“Pay Equity is one of the most important issues facing working women and their families. It has long been a priority of the WBA and we are thrilled to be joining advocacy efforts with Mass NOW, MCSW and other Coalition members to advance meaningful pay equity legislation. We look forward to working with legislators towards making Massachusetts the first state to bridge the wage gap between working men and working women,” said WBA President Kara DelTufo.

“For women and families, pay equity is not only an issue of fairness, but of economic opportunity for workers across the Commonwealth,” said Katie Hayden, Policy and Operations Manager at Mass NOW. “We know businesses in Massachusetts value their employees and want to compensate workers fairly, which is why we are committed to working with the business community and our partners on the Coalition and in the Legislature to provide realistic pathways to pay equality.”

“Equal pay for women is critical for women, families, communities, and economic growth. Equitable pay contributes to economic growth on Main Street, employee engagement, and a stronger bottom line. It’s time for Massachusetts to be a leader in this important issue. Here in Massachusetts we have most highly educated population of women in the nation. This bill will help strengthen Massachusetts’ economic position,” said Jill Ashton, Director of the MCSW.

Senator Patricia Jehlen (D-Somerville) and Senator Karen Spilka (D-Ashland) are sponsoring the bill in the State Senate and Representative Jay Livingstone (D-Boston) and Representative Ellen Story (D-Amherst) are sponsoring the bill in the House of Representatives.

“The wage gap is real and has serious negative impacts on women and families. We have talked about it for long enough – it’s time to take action. This bill provides a set of targeted interventions to close the wage gap without overburdening businesses,” said Senator Patricia Jehlen.

“As an employment lawyer, I represented women who had been discriminated against in the workplace and I worked hard to correct those wrongs for individual clients,” said Representative Jay Livingstone. “I am pleased now to work on a bill that will provide more opportunities for all women in Massachusetts to earn their fair share in the workplace as well as bring more transparency regarding salaries to the hiring process that will benefit all employees.”

“When women thrive, businesses, communities and the Commonwealth as a whole thrive,” said Senator Karen Spilka. “This bill makes important changes to help close the wage gap and make sure women in Massachusetts are paid fairly for their work. We must continue to promote equality in the workplace and advance more women leaders.”

“These good advocates and colleagues have said it all,” said Representative Ellen Story. “This bill provides commonsense solutions, each of which is long overdue.”