SPRINGFIELD, Ill –Legislation sponsored by state Rep. Debbie Meyers-Martin, D-Olympia Fields, to help prevent wage discrimination in the workplace passed the House this week.
“This is the first step on what has been a long journey to ensuring that women get equal pay for equal work,” Meyers-Martin said. “I hope the Senate moves on this legislation quickly so it gets to the Governor.”
House Bill 834 prohibits employers from asking for a job applicant’s prior wage or salary history, which has proven to create and perpetuate disadvantages for women during the hiring process. According to the National Partnership for Women & Families, women in Illinois are paid 79 cents for every dollar paid to men, amounting to an annual wage gap of $10,834. This pay gap is greater for minorities, with African-American women making about 64 cents and Latinas making about 56 cents compared to their non-Hispanic white male colleagues. Meyers-Martin has made it a top priority to fight for equal pay for women.
“Since a gender wage gap still exists, House Bill 834 will strengthen the Illinois Equal Pay Act by making it a violation for employers to ask job applicants about their prior salary or to confirm it with their employer, in order to stop perpetuating unequal pay,” said Melissa Josephs, Director of Equal Opportunity Policy with Women Employed. “Instead, employers should hire employees based on their skills and experience, and pay them based on their budget and the going rate for the job.”
“As a woman of color who has lived through many trials and tribulations, I understand why this legislation is needed and the good that it will do for future generations of women in Illinois,” Meyers-Martin continued. “Making this legislation the law of the land will go a long way in helping all women receive the compensation they rightfully deserve.”