Bullock, Shusterman, O’Mara Equal Pay Law approved by PA House Labor & Industry Committee

HARRISBURG, March 27 – A bill (H.B. 98) introduced by state Reps. Donna Bullock, Melissa Shusterman and Jenn O’Mara, known as the Equal Pay Law, which would expand protections against wage discrimination, was approved by the Pennsylvania House Labor and Industry Committee today.

This legislation would prohibit employers from discriminating and paying workers less because of their gender, race or ethnicity. It would also add protections for retaliation and increase monetary penalties from $50-$200 to $2,500-$5,000 in cases where employers discharge or discriminate against an employee for filing a complaint.

“It’s well known that women and people of color, and especially women of color, have been insufficiently paid in the workplace. This is despite doing the same tasks, performing the same jobs, and sometimes doing them much better than our counterparts,” said Bullock, D-Phila. “Enough is enough. The time for economic justice is now. We must move forward and ensure all Pennsylvania workers receive equal pay for equal work and eradicate wage disparity once and for all.”

"We could add a staggering $482 billion to the U.S. economy by ensuring equal pay for equal work. We're talking billions in lost wages for women that they could spend on basic necessities, like food and clothing for their families,” said Shusterman, D-Chester. “Simply by paying women what they've earned, we could reduce the number of working women and single mothers living in poverty by half. This bill is about valuing women, and it's long overdue."

“The gender pay gap disproportionately affects working mothers, as they’re only bringing home about 70 cents to every working father’s dollar. This creates the harsh economic reality for some families that it makes more sense financially for a mother to sacrifice her career in order to save on child care expenses,” said O’Mara, D-Delaware. “However, by backing policies like ours that promote gender equity in the workplace, we move closer to closing the gender pay gap. It's about ensuring women aren't paid less than men for the same work. All Pennsylvanians should have the opportunity to work hard, contribute to society, and support themselves and their families.”