SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Larry Walsh, Jr., D-Elwood, is working to bring awareness to the issue of pay inequity between men and women by working to declare April 4 as “Pay Equity Day.” This date symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn the same as men did the previous year.
“The issue of pay inequality between men and women is about fairness, and helping all working people provide for their families,” Walsh said. “Everyone who works hard deserves to be paid a fair wage.”
Walsh is sponsoring House Resolution 124 to declare April 4 as “Pay Equity Day” in Illinois. Pay Equity Day was originated by the National Committee on Pay Equity in 1996 as a public awareness event to illustrate the gender gap in wages. The Census Bureau, which tracks annual wages, found women who worked full-time, year-round in 2016 made 79 cents for every dollar men earned across the country. This comparison includes all male and female workers regardless of occupation.
Walsh is also working to advance legislation to prohibit employers from paying different salaries to employees who do the same job and have the same experience. His measure also makes it illegal for an employer to require potential employees to reveal their past wage or salary during the job application process, which can lock women in to being paid less their entire careers. Walsh’s legislation also prevents employers from seeking the salary of job applicants from previous employers. Massachusetts recently enacted similar legislation.
“Ending pay discrimination in the workplace would help lift up many families out of poverty and would especially provide a boost to families with a female head of household,” Walsh said. “Eliminating the gender pay gap can also benefit local businesses by putting money into the pockets of consumers, making my reform a win for both Illinois families and businesses.”