LANSING — State Representatives Collene Lamonte (D-Montague) and Marcia Hovey-Wright (D-Muskegon) announced legislation today to create pay equity in Michigan. Full-time working women in the state make 74 percent of their male counterparts, even less than the nationwide gap of 77 percent.

“As of 2011, Michigan ranked 44th in the nation in pay equity. The average full-time working woman makes about $37,000, while the average man makes about $50,000. This is unacceptable,” Lamonte said. “In this economic climate, we can’t make it harder for women to make ends meet.”

April 9 is recognized as Pay Equity Day because it is the calendar date by which women catch up to their male counterparts in earnings from the previous year. Women’s groups around the nation use the occasion to highlight the issue of income inequality. Michigan House Democrats are marking the day by introducing a package of bills to bring pay equity to our state. The package includes legislation to:

  • Prohibit an employer from failing to provide equal compensation for work of comparable value for several reasons, including sex

  • Create penalties for employers who pay different wages to men and women who are “similarly situated” – employees with similar qualifications, experience, etc.

  • Create a state commission on pay equity

  • Require an employer to provide, at an employee’s request, wage information for “similarly situated employees”

“This should not be a partisan issue. It comes down to simple fairness: providing equal pay for equal work,” Hovey-Wright said. “I look forward to working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass this critical legislation.” When we discriminate with unfair wages, women and families in our state suffer.”