ROCKFORD, Ill. – In an effort to reduce the wage gap between men and women, state Rep. Maurice West II, D-Rockford, is backing an equal pay measure that would prohibit employers from asking applicants about their previous pay history.
“No woman should be locked into a lower rate of pay based on their last job,” West said. “While there have been important improvements made to lower the wage gap, we have an opportunity to do more to ensure that all applicants are treated fairly during hiring decisions.”
In addition to prohibiting companies from asking for applicant wage histories, the West-supported House Bill 834 would increase penalties on businesses that do not follow equal pay laws. Wage disparity is highlighted each year by Equal Pay Day, which marks how late into a new calendar year it takes for a woman to earn what a male counterpart earned the previous year. This year’s Equal Pay Day is scheduled for April 2.
“Equal pay affects women across our state, but it can have an even harsher impact on minorities,” West said. “This legislation would be an important step toward creating economic fairness, it deserves to be a priority.”