State Senators Introduce Bill to Modernize Pennsylvania’s Equal Pay Law

Women in the WorkplaceImage by RAEng_Publications

PENNSYLVANIA — Coinciding with Equal Pay Day yesterday, March 14th, Senators Steve Santarsiero (D-10) and Maria Collett (D-12) are seeking to close the gender wage gap by re-introducing legislation to modernize Pennsylvania’s Equal Pay Laws.

Women in Pennsylvania currently earn 79 cents for every dollar paid to men. This amounts to a gap of more than $10,000 every year. The gender wage gap can be traced to multiple factors, including occupational segregation, bias against working mothers, and direct pay discrimination.

To remedy this inequity, SB 421 updates the antiquated Equal Pay Laws to do the following:

  1. Broaden the scope of current law to include more employees and fringe benefits;
  2. Protect employees from retaliation when inquiring about wage information, ensuring wages are based on bona fide factors; and
  3. Provide workers the ability to collect unpaid wages when an employer is found to violate the law.

“It is inconceivable that in 2023, women in Pennsylvania still earn less than their male colleagues for the same work,” said Senator Santarsiero. “This is not only about fairness. It is an important economic issue. Ensuring women receive fair and equal pay will reinvigorate Pennsylvania’s economy and lift women and children out of poverty.”

“In the five years since Senator Santarsiero and I first introduced this bill, neither it nor women’s wages have moved,” said Senator Collett. “Pennsylvania women still earn even less on the dollar than women in other states. The disparity is even more pronounced for women of color. Closing the pay gap is good for our workers, good for our economy, and good for our families.”

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Senators Santarsiero and Collett have introduced similar bills each legislative session since taking office in 2018.

SB 421’s co-sponsorship memorandum can be found here.

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