State lawmaker brings daughters for hearing on gender wage gap

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– A new proposed bill aims to make sure women make the same as men. The backer of the bill, State Rep. Derek Slap, Dist. 19 (D) brought his daughters, Maggie, 12, and Zoe, 10 to the Legislative Office Building for a public hearing on House Bill 5210.

“At the current rate the gender wage gap won’t be closed until they’re [his daughters] in their 70’s,” said Slap. “Every year on average women and their families lose more than $10,000 because of the gender wage gap and if you think about it that’s 5 or 6 mortgage payments. That’s really significant.”

Nationally, on average a woman earns $.79 to every $1.00 a man makes. In Connecticut, it’s a little better at $.83.

He says the proposed bill would do three things:

One, it would prevent employers from being able to ask your previous salary. That’s meant to stop the cycle of being paid lower.

“Because what we find is women disproportionately take a low salary from one job to the next, to the next. So this will help break that cycle,” said Slap.

Next, if your pay is based on seniority, employers will have to count any time you spend on maternity, medical, or family leave. Lastly, it encourages businesses to document their pay practices. If they do, Slap says the businesses would be protected by lawsuits for 3 years.

“Women are predominantly the breadwinners in many families. The wage gap has even a substantial impact on what families can make and what they can spend in our economy,” said Kate Farrar, Exec. Dir. CT Women’s Education and Legal Fund. “We don’t want that lower salary to dictate where they’re headed in their career and where they’re headed in regards to getting paid.”

She says they also hope this will keep workers here in the state. Massachusetts just passed a similar bill with a Republican Governor’s approval. That’s why Slap is hoping for bipartisan support on it. This bill still needs to go into committee. The earliest they could vote on it would be in May.

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