Business and Economics

Equal Pay Day Recognized By State Officials, President

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April 8, 2014 – This year’s “Equal Pay Day” is April 8th, 2014. Advocates say that date represents how far into the new year a woman must work to earn as much as her male counterpart in the same profession did by the end of last year.

According to the White House, the latest U.S. Census statistics show that, on average, full-time working women still earn 77 cents to every dollar earned by men. However, some believe that figure is debatable. A study by the Pew Research Center estimates, based on hourly earnings of both full- and part-time workers, women earn 84 percent of what men earn. Pew also estimates that the gap is smaller among young female workers, who earn 93 percent of what their same-aged male counterparts earn.

According to a White House press release, President Barack Obama is taking two steps to address the wage gap. The first is an Executive Order which prohibits federal contractors from retaliating against employees who discuss compensation. The White House says the legislation is intended to encourage pay transparency. The second measure is a Presidential Memorandum requiring the Secretary of Labor to establish new regulations requiring federal contractors to submit to the Department of Labor summary data on compensation, including data by sex and race. 

The president also hopes that passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act by the U.S. Senate will be instrumental to making his policies work. The legislation would require employers to show that wage differences are caused by job requirements rather than being based on gender. It also protects all employees from retaliation when they share information about compensation.

 Local lawmakers are speaking out on the issue too. State Representatives Linda Lawson (D-Hammond) and Shelli VanDenburgh (D-Crown Point) say Indiana continues to lag behind in providing equity between the wages earned by working men and women. In a press release, VanDenburgh stated, “While there are efforts under way at the national level to do something about this outrageous inequity, we think the time is right to mention that Indiana is particularly guilty of doing nothing about reducing this gap.”

 Lawson added, “The governor and his administration and those in charge of our state government can talk all they want about job creation successes in Indiana, but the fact is that workers here are not making enough money to keep up with the rising costs of health care, school, and all the daily expenses that keep their families’ heads afloat.”

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