Bipartisan Legislation Would Strengthen Alabama Families
Montgomery, Ala – This afternoon, Rep. Adline Clarke announced major legislation that would ensure equal pay for all employees. The measure, which would prohibit an employer from paying any of its employees at lower rates than those paid to employees of the opposite sex for substantially similar work, has bipartisan support.
“This is an issue of fairness that is absolutely crucial to Alabama families,” said Rep. Adline Clarke. “Women workers make up a large part of our workforce and their paychecks go to gas, groceries, childcare, college tuition and other essentials for our families. They must receive equal pay for equal work.”
Rep. Clarke’s announcement coincides with today’s ‘Equal Pay Day.’ This date demonstrates how far into the year women must work in order to earn the equivalence of what men have earned in the previous year.
Nearly every state has laws prohibiting employers from paying workers differently based solely on their gender, leaving only Alabama and Mississippi left to pass such legislation.
According to a study by the American Association of University Women (AAUW), which has championed this cause for decades, “In 2016, women working full-time in the United States typically were paid just 80 percent of what men were paid, a gap of 20 percent.” In it’s fall 2017 edition of “The Simple Truth About the Gender Pay Gap,” AAUW states that “The gender pay gap has lifelong financial effects. For one, it contributes directly to women’s poverty. … Eliminating the gender pay gap by increasing women’s level of pay to those of men could cut the poverty rate for working women in half”
The main components of House Bill 225 are:
- Prohibit employers from paying employees of the opposite sex lower wages for the same work and responsibility.
- Allow employers to demonstrate that a wage differential is based upon valid factors.
- Allow employees to disclose and discuss wages with others.
- Require employers to maintain payroll records for three (3) years.
- Allow employees who are discharged, discriminated or retaliated against to bring civil action within one year for reinstatement and reimbursement for lost wages and benefits due to attempts to gain pay equity.
Native Alabamian and nationally known equal pay advocate Lilly Ledbetter supports the bill saying, “Equal pay is desperately needed in Alabama. By ensuring fairness in the workplace, this legislation will strengthen families across the state.”
Congress passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act in 2009 in response to Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. At the end of her 19-year career at Goodyear, Mrs. Ledbetter learned she was being paid significantly less than her male counterparts. On appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, her case was dismissed due to time limit constraints.
HB225 is co-sponsored by Representatives Alexander, Baker, Boyd, Bracy, Coleman, Collins, Drummond, Faust, Fincher, Forte. Gaston, Givan, Gray, Hall, Hatcher, Hollis, Lawrence, McCampbell, Moore (M), Morris, Nordgren, Rafferty, Rogers, Rowe, Scott, Shaver, Shiver, Stringer, Warren, Wilcox and Wood (D).
The bill has been assigned to the Commerce and Small Business Committee.
“Given the importance of this issue to families across the state and broad support, I’m hopeful it will soon be placed on the committee agenda and receive a favorable report from the committee,” said Rep. Clarke.
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