Michigan Senator addresses pay equity

Senator Warren Announces Reintroduction of Pay Equity Legislation

LANSING – Senator Rebekah Warren (D – Ann Arbor) today announced the reintroduction of legislation that would strengthen Michigan’s laws against sex-based wage discrimination. At a press conference along with fellow Senate and House Democrats, Senator Warren announced her portion of a package of pay equity bills.

“Many are unaware of the massive wage gap in the state of Michigan, which ranks 46th in the nation for wage parity,” said Sen. Warren. “Unfortunately, this wage disparity is not only grossly unjust, but also has very real implications for women and their families. It means that for every dollar men make, women receive only 72 cents to buy the same groceries and pay the same bills. And it means that over a working lifetime, the average American woman will experience $700,000 to $2 million in lost wages. To see our state falling behind on an issue so important to Michigan families in the year 2013 is appalling.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Michigan currently ranks 46th in the nation for wage parity, with working women making just 72 cents for every dollar their male counterparts are paid.  This 28 percent pay disparity puts Michigan behind the national gender pay gap of 77 cents per dollar and harms families throughout the state.

Sen. Warren’s bills would work to remedy pay inequity by prohibiting discrimination for failing to provide equal compensation for comparable work, and requiring employer disclosure of certain wage information upon request. Bills introduced by Senator Gretchen Whitmer (D – East Lansing) and Senator Coleman Young II (D – Detroit) would establish a commission on pay equity and modify the provision regarding wage discrimination based on sex, respectively.

Sen. Warren also introduced a resolution urging Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act of 2013. The Paycheck Fairness Act would close the pay differentials loophole in current law by requiring that when pay differentials exist, it be for a “bone fide factor,” such as education, training or experience directly related to the position in question and out of business necessity. It also strengthens the non-retaliation provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to protect women who inquire about, disclose or discuss their own wage or the wages of another employee.