LANSING – State Representative Fred Durhal III (D-Detroit) said today that he is proud to sponsor a bill in a package of legislation that would provide comprehensive solutions to combat Michigan’s wage gap. The legislation would take critical steps to empower workers to negotiate for equal pay, strengthen support and create strong incentives for employers to follow the law, and streamline enforcement efforts.
“It’s high time that we pass legislation ensuring that women are paid the same as men doing the same work, and I am proud to join with my House Democratic colleagues to fight to end wage discrimination based on gender,” said Durhal.
Michigan law has prohibited wage discrimination based on gender for more than five decades, yet a significant gap persists. According to 2015 wage data released by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, Michigan ranks 36th in the nation for pay equity, with women working full time earning 23 percent less than the average full-time male worker employed in significantly similar work – that equates to an annual earning deficit of more than $13,000 per household. Michigan women earn, on average, 77 cents to every dollar earned by a man. The pay gap for women of color is even greater, with African-American women earning an average of 66 cents to a dollar earned by men, while Latinas earn an average of 54 cents on the dollar.
Durhal’s bill, House Bill 4492, would allow remedies for wage discrimination under Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. Other bills in the package would:
- Require employers to disclose, upon request, wage information for similarly situated employees.
- Amend the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include equal compensation for work of comparable value.
- Require employers to post and inform employees about equal pay laws.
- Require the state to include a review of wage differentials in its annual report with the goal of decreasing wage disparity between sexes.
- Expand the prohibition of wage discrimination by amending the Workforce Opportunity Wage Act.
- Recognize April 14, 2015 as Equal Pay Day.
“Wage discrimination robs women of their ability to meet their needs and the needs of their families,” said Durhal. “If we want to create a strong economy, then we need to outlaw wage discrimination and pass an equal pay for equal work law so that women can fully participate in the economy and enjoy the results of their hard work.”