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State Senator

Cathy Osten

Representing Columbia, Franklin, Hebron, Lebanon, Ledyard, Lisbon, Marlborough, Montville, Norwich & Sprague

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Senate Democrats Lead Final Passage of Gender Pay Equity Bill

Democrats in the State Senate today led final legislative passage (35-1) of HB 5386, An Act Concerning Pay Equity. Under this bill, employers would be prohibited from asking prospective employees about their previous wages, as evidence shows women disproportionately carry lower salaries from one job to the next.

“Here in Connecticut women are still earning 83 cents to every dollar that their male counterparts are,” said Senate President Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven). “This disparity results in an annual wage gap of nearly $11,000. This gap only increases in the case of Latino and African American women, compared to their white male counterparts. This legislation would be key to reducing the poverty rate of single, working mothers in the state, which is currently at 24.4 percent and will help prevent women from being locked into the status of being offered lower salaries because they were underpaid in their previous jobs”

“It is a crime that in the United States, in 2018, women are not on a level playing field when it comes to their wages,” said Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk). “Women should earn equal pay for equal work. If Connecticut wants to retain young people, attract top talent and grow the middle class, passing bills like earned family medical leave bill, a pay equity bill and raising the minimum wage will give Connecticut a competitive advantage and send a message that our state values its workers and is a great place to live and raise a family.”

“The pay equity bill that we passed tonight will provide a mechanism for women to realize their true value in the workplace, not the value based on questions about their salary history, which is a historically inequitable salary history to begin with,” said Senator Cathy Osten (D-Sprague) who led Senate passage of the measure. “The impact of this change is going to be enormous: another $2 million over an average woman’s lifetime, according to some estimates. That means less poverty, more money in our economy, a better retirement, and more to pass on to the next generation. All thanks to the simple notion of equal pay for equal work.”

“Equal pay can improve conditions for all families and ensure that women have proper retirement savings. Right now, women have to work 11 years more than a man to achieve the same standard of living in retirement,” said Senator Beth Bye (D-West Hartford). “Our pay equity bill tonight will help women earn what they deserve for life.”

“Pay inequity is a very serious problem across our country and in our state. We’ve heard a lot in recent years about the disparity in pay with women earning on average 80 cents for every dollar that men earn,” Senator Mae Flexer (D-Danielson) said. “But I also want to emphasize how it’s significantly worse for black women and Latina women, who earn 59 cents and 48 cents respectively for every dollar that a white man earns. That means they have to work twice as many hours to earn the same as a man. These statistics are completely unacceptable, and I’m so glad that Connecticut is catching up with Massachusetts by passing this equal pay bill. Also, having a law like this is important to Connecticut’s economy because it’s the kind of policy that keeps young people in our state by showing them we are a place that puts fairness at the forefront. This bill is going to go a long way toward not just addressing pay inequity, but also making Connecticut a place where people want to live a family.”

“I stood today in strong support of women—and the families that depend on them—by voting in favor of pay equity in Connecticut,” Senator Marilyn Moore (D-Bridgeport) said. “This will be especially helpful to black and Latina women in my district who according to current statistics each earn almost half of what white men earn. In fact, for black women, Equal Pay Day is not until July 31. Meaning that theoretically, black women have to work until that day in the current year in order to earn what a white man earned in the previous year. This bill ensures that women, regardless of race, are not discriminated against when negotiating her salary and will help boost the state’s economy by putting more money into the pockets of women our workforce.”

“Today the Senate took a step toward creating equitable opportunities for everyone by passing legislation that would close the gender wage gap,” Labor Committee co-chair Senator Ed Gomes (D-Bridgeport) said. “I am proud to live in a state that supports fair treatment of women and proudly vote in favor of this bill that will help working women maintain economic stability for themselves and their families.”

On average, unfair pay costs each working woman in Connecticut more than $10,000 every year. According to the National Women’s Law Center, women in Connecticut—on average—have to work until age 70 to earn what a man makes by the time he is 60.

The Senate Democrats originally introduced the legislation as a cornerstone of their Democratic Values agenda in order to help employees who take leave for pregnancy and other parental-related leave.

The bill, which previously passed the House 139-9, now heads to Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s desk for his signature or veto.

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