Pa. legislators call for action on Equal Pay Day

HARRISBURG, April 10 – State legislators and advocates held a rally in the Capitol today to call for action on strengthening Pennsylvania's outdated, ineffective equal-pay law. Today is Equal Pay Day, the symbolic day when women’s average earnings catch up to men’s from the previous year.

"Our state ranks 29th in the United States for pay equity. Women in Pennsylvania on average make 79 percent of what men make. It takes women an additional four months and four days to get paid the same as their male counterparts. This is despite the fact that we are just as qualified and have the same amount of experience," said state Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware, chairwoman of the Philadelphia County Delegation.

"I am fighting for change with my legislation, House Bill 830. It would ensure equal pay for equal work. The bill currently sits in the House Labor and Industry Committee, where it has remained for more than a year. The facts have remained the same for far too long: women make far less than men here in Pennsylvania and that is unfair and economically self-defeating."

Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, co-chairman of the Women's Health Caucus, said, "Mother's Day is coming up next month. Instead of nice words, it's time to deliver something that working mothers and all Pennsylvania working women deserve: equal pay for equal work! I have been hearing from so many women who are angry about what's been going on in Washington for the past 15 months. Any state or federal elected official who ignores women's concerns is putting their career at risk and missing the boat on working alongside a vital, energized community of women."

Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., said, "Yesterday, the 9th Circuit Court held that employers can no longer hide behind salary history to justify pay disparity. This decision is a step in the right direction, and opening the path for my salary history legislation here in Pennsylvania. Everyone deserves to be paid fairly for their work, no matter their gender. It’s long past time for us to close this embarrassing chapter in our history and pay women equally.”

Rep. Carolyn Comitta, D-Chester, said, “It’s estimated that without changes, women will not achieve pay equity until 2119. That’s too long to wait. The pay gap can have lifelong financial effects for women, and it’s time that we take steps to create equity and fairness in the workplace.”

Rep. Perry Warren, D-Bucks, “As the father of three strong young women, I want them to be able to pay off their student loans as or more quickly than their older brother. They and all women deserve and have earned the opportunity for equal pay.”

Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila., said, "The gender pay gap persists because of this legislature's inaction. We have the tools at our disposal to fix this problem that affects millions of women across the Commonwealth. I call on the Republican leadership to put women before special interests and bring House Bill 1243 up for a vote.”