Sen. Spilka’s Pay Equity Legislation Passes in Senate
BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts Senate has unanimously approved a bill that would ensure men and women earn equal pay for comparable work.
The legislation passed on Thursday would prohibit employers rom discriminating on the basis of gender when it comes to wages and other compensation.
It would require men and women be paid at the same rate for comparable work. The bill defines comparable work as jobs requiring similar skills, effort and level of responsibility. Differences could be applied for factors such as seniority and level of training.
Companies that violate the law could be fined up to $1,000, and employees who believe they’re discriminated against could go to court to recover unpaid wages. Critics say the bill is well-intentioned, but misguided. The bill now heads to the House. see more here
“I fully support S2107,” said Treasurer Goldberg. “Economic empowerment has been the central theme of not only my work in Treasury, but throughout my life. This legislation takes important steps to encourage awareness, facilitate conversation, and ultimately, ensure equality. Equal pay is not a partisan issue, nor solely a women’s issue. It is a family issue, and it affects the economic health and well-being of our entire state.”
“I want to particularly thank Leader Chandler, Chairwoman Spilka and Senator Jehlen for their steadfast and tireless work to advance this bill and its underlying cause. I am hopeful that the House might soon consider this legislation so that we can get to work towards finally realizing the promise of equal pay for equal work.”
Bill S2107 proposes several changes, such as increasing the criminal penalty of gender pay discrimination from $100 to $1,000 for employers, and requiring employers to inform their employees of their right to equal pay. The changes would take place at the start of 2018.
In March, Treasurer Goldberg announced the creation of a statewide Advisory Committee on Wage Equality through her Office of Economic Empowerment. This group has focused on helping both government agencies and private employers to evaluate their pay structure and put a clearer focus on pay equity in their hiring decisions and salary offers.