The Lead

NEPA lawmaker to introduce equal pay legislation

By: - November 14, 2022 1:21 pm

People of color say they want office allies who offer honest feedback. (Photo via 10’000Hours/DigitalVision/Getty Images)

A Republican state lawmaker from northeastern Pennsylvania says she plans to introduce a bill to amend Pennsylvania’s Equal Pay Law.

The legislation sponsored by state Rep. Karen Boback, R-Luzerne, is similar to a bill introduced during the 2019-2020 legislative session by former state Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Philadelphia, which never made it out of the House Labor & Industry Committee. 

In a co-sponsorship memo last week, Boback said that the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the pay gap for working mothers in “front line” fields such as nursing.

… “ Many types of mothers working in front-line occupations earn only a fraction of fathers working in the same jobs,” Boback wrote. 

Boback said that her legislation:

  • “Clarifies that comparable work performed under similar working conditions will be compensated equally.
  • Provides that time spent on leave due to a pregnancy-related condition or other prenatal or protected family and medical leave will not reduce seniority.
  • Prohibit employers from preventing employees from discussing their compensation between and among fellow employees.
  • Prevent employers from screening applicants based on salary history – and require that employers obtain authorization from applicants before seeking salary and benefit information from a prior employer.
  • Prohibit employers from retaliation against an employee who files a complaint, cooperates with an investigation, or testifies against the employer.
  • Maintain the two-year time frame to file a complaint and increase penalties for violations to $1,000 (up from $50-$200).
  • Create the Equal Pay Commission to study the factors, causes, and impact of gender-based pay disparity.”

In September 2022, the National Women’s Law Center, a nonprofit organization, found that nationally, women typically make only 84 cents for every dollar a man makes.

In Pennsylvania, women typically earn 81 cents for every dollar a man makes. Black women earn just 66.2 cents for every dollar a white, non-Hispanic man makes, according to the same data.

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