Women legislators introduced a bill that would bar employers from asking prospective employees their wage history.
Under the bill, which was introduced Tuesday, wage expectations can be discussed so long as the employer does not seek salary history over the course of the discussion and negotiation. Employees can voluntarily disclose salary information. Co-sponsors included women legislators from both parties.
Co-sponsors included women legislators from both parties as well as male Democrats. The anouncement came on Equal Pay Day wearing red to highlight male-female pay gap.
Similar legislation has been passed in Massachusetts and the city of Philadelphia.
“Pay inequity can adversely affect how a woman provides for her family, saves for retirement and pays off student loans,” said House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst, the prime sponsor of HB 1. “During a 40-year career, it’s possible for Delaware women to lose nearly $400,000. Those lost wages nearly double and triple for African American and Hispanic women in Delaware. Closing the wage gap is a major economic issue for our state and we should do everything in our power as legislators to work to even the playing field and empower the next generation of young women.”HB1
Though Delaware’s wage gap has narrowed, advocates from the Institutes of Women’s Policy Research estimate that women and men will not reach pay parity until 2059.
“Equal pay for equal work is not just a ‘women’s issue,’ ” saidSenate Majority Leader Margaret Rose Henry, D-Wilmington. “The pay gap is widest for women of color – African-American and Latina working class women in particular. None of us are equal until all of us are equal.
“As a divorced mother whoraisedtwo sons,I can also attest that pay equity is a quality of life issue – not just for women in the workforce, but for children in the 40 percent of households that rely on a primary or sole femalebreadwinner. If we’re serious about equality, about growing our economy, and aboutcreating opportunity for our children,then we need to get serious about closing the wage gap,” Henry stated.
House Minority Whip Rep. Deborah Hudson, R-Greenville, said, “Today marks the point in the year when the wages paid to American women catch up to the wages paid to men from the previous year. In 2017, with all the modern advancements in this day and age, you would think wage inequity for women would long be a thing of the past. Sadly, that is not the case. I remain committed to continuing to fight for this issue until we finally achieve fairness in paybetween genders.”
Also, House Concurrent Resolution 16 will by the General Assembly Tuesday, acknowledging that equal pay for women is priority to the people of Delaware. Sponsoring the Resolution are Rep. Longhurst, Rep. Bolden, Sen. Henry and Sen. Poore. (See story below ongender pay gaps.
The bill was assigned to the House Labor Committee.