HARRISBURG, April 13, 2015 — As the nation marks Equal Pay Day on April 14, state Sens. Rob Teplitz and Anthony H. Williams have reintroduced legislation that strengthens Pennsylvania law to eliminate the gender wage gap.
Senate Bill 303 increases the protection to employees who have filed a complaint against an employer and prohibits retaliation against employees for discussing wages (“pay secrecy”).
The bill also closes the “factor other than sex” defense in a pay equity lawsuit to apply only to bona fide business related factors. Bona fide factors other than sex include education, training, or experience. In order to file a complaint, a plaintiff must still identify a comparable employee who makes more money for performing equal work, requiring effort, and responsibility under similar working conditions.
“Despite successful efforts in establishing equality in the workplace, working women still face a significant gender wage gap,” said Teplitz (D-Dauphin/Perry). “Women make up half of our workforce, and many Pennsylvania households are headed by women, so improvements to the pay equity law not only impact women, but their families as well.”
“Make no mistake about it,” said Williams (D-Philadelphia/Delaware). “Where a business chooses to pay a woman less than a man just because she is a woman, they are discriminating. When women suspect they are not being treated fairly, they must have a way to protect themselves from possible retaliation.”
The bill is currently in the Senate Labor and Industry Committee.