Philadelphia City Council unanimously passed equal pay legislation that prohibits employers from asking applicants’ for their wages history, a best-practice formally recommended by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as an “important step” to ensuring equal pay for equal work.
Mayor Jim Kenney has indicated that he will sign the bill into law.
The Women’s Law Project and Pathways PA, members of the Pennsylvania Campaign for Women’s Health, testified in support of the bill, which was sponsored by Councilmembers Bill Greenlee and Blondell Reynolds Brown.
What does this legislation do?
Basing salary offers on a prior wage–rather than the job’s responsibilities and the applicants’ qualifications—is one way pay discrimination is perpetuated throughout a woman’s working life. Typically, the gender wage gap is present early in a woman’s career, then widens throughout her life.
By removing prior wages from the conversation, this bill enables women to be paid based on objective criteria, like education and experience, and not be penalized by lower earnings in a previous job.
Addressing Pay Discrimination across Pennsylvania
Earlier this year, Rep. Donna Bullock and Rep. Maria Donatucci, members of the Women’s Health Caucus of the Pennsylvania Legislature, introduced House Bill 2356, legislation that would extend similar protections to women throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Mothers are primary or co-breadwinners in two-thirds of Pennsylvania households, and yet the state Legislature has so far refused to fix the state’s broken equal pay law, raise the minimum wage beyond the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour, ensure basic workplace protections for pregnant or breastfeeding workers, or even extend the state’s sexual harassment protections to all female employees.
Without corrective policy intervention, Pennsylvania women are not on track to earn equal pay until 2072. The Center for American Progress gave Pennsylvania a D+ ranking for economic security, and the number of children living in poverty is on the rise.
We thank Pathways PA and everyone else who took action on this bill, Councilmembers Greenlee and Reynolds Brown for their leadership on the issue, and City Council for voting this bill into law.
We will continue to advocate for similar protections that will apply to women throughout the Commonwealth. Stay tuned.
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