Sims, Davis to reintroduce equal-pay bill as part of Pa. Agenda for Women's Health

HARRISBURG, May 11 – State Reps. Brian Sims, D-Phila., and Tina Davis, D-Bucks, will reintroduce equal-pay legislation as part of the bipartisan "Pennsylvania Agenda for Women's Health" unveiled today by the legislature's Women’s Health Caucus.

Sims said, "Moms deserve more than Mother's Day flowers or cards. One thing mothers and all Pennsylvania women desperately need is for the legislature to close the holes in the equal pay law so it actually gets the job done for working women and their families. Wage inequality is not only a detriment to working women, but to families as well. When employers underpay equally qualified female employees, they shortchange our wives, our mothers and our daughters, to the detriment of all.”

Sims and Davis will introduce the bill as H.B. 1160. A companion bill in the Senate has been introduced as S.B. 303. The bills would narrow the definition of determining factors for pay to education, training or experience, while also lifting the veil of pay secrecy and creating protections that permit employees to inquire about salaries without fear of termination. Current law allows for "any factor other than sex" to be a legitimate justification for disparities in pay.

Davis said, "Pennsylvania has had an equal-pay law for more than 50 years, but women are still paid on average 54 to 83 cents for every dollar a man makes, depending on which county they live in. Clearly we need to strengthen the equal-pay law."

Other bills in the Pennsylvania Agenda for Women's Health include: requiring reasonable workplace accommodations for pregnant women; requiring sanitary conditions for nursing mothers to express breast milk at work; protecting all employees from sexual harassment by ending an exemption based on the employer's size; raising the minimum wage in steps to $10.10 per hour; ensuring access to health-care facilities; sparing domestic violence victims from fees when removing themselves from an abuser's cell phone contract or having the abuser removed; allowing early termination of a rental lease with 30 days’ notice if the tenant is the victim of domestic violence, sexual assault and/or stalking; and "Safe Campuses" legislation to address sexual assault and intimate partner violence on college and university campuses.

More details about the legislative package are available at http://is.gd/2015PAWomensHealth.