SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Kelly Burke, D-Evergreen Park, is fighting to end pay discrimination against women by sponsoring reforms to close the pay gap between women and men. Burke also recently supported a resolution declaring as April 4 “Pay Equity Day,” which symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn the same as men did the previous year.
“While women have made great strides in the workplace, income inequality between women and men is still a real issue that affects our society,” Burke said. “This wage discrimination makes it even more difficult for women to get ahead, especially women who are the sole providers for their family.”
Burke 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.
Burke is also sponsoring House Bill 2462, which prohibits employers from paying different salaries to employees who do the same job and have the same experience. Burke’s measure also makes it illegal for an employer to require potential employees to reveal their past wage or salary during the job application process. The goal of her legislation is to address the fact that women and minorities have historically been paid less. Massachusetts recently enacted similar legislation.
“Closing the pay gap between women and men would help countless families escape poverty, put more money in the pockets of consumers, which would provide an economic boost for local businesses,” Burke said. “I will continue to be an advocate for commonsense reforms that lift-up Illinois families and create a stronger economy.”