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Pay Equity Matters: Mind the Gap

Posts from February 2019.

The House Committee on Education and Labor just voted in favor of the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 7, S.270), which, if ultimately enacted, would amend federal wage and hour law “to provide more effective remedies to victims of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex, and for other reasons.” The Paycheck Fairness Act, or PFA, notes that the Equal Pay Act (EPA) “has not worked as Congress originally intended,” and concludes that “improvements and modifications to the law are necessary to ensure that the Act provides effective protection to those subject to pay discrimination on the basis of sex.”

For all of the progressive legal advances in the area of pay equity we have seen across the country in recent years, a new report just released by an economic thinktank suggests that the wage gap is not only still present, but that is actually worsening as we head into a new year. The Economic Policy Institute's February 20 report, “State of Working America Wages 2018,” forebodingly notes that wage inequality “marches on”— and doesn't seem to be letting up. What do employers need to know about this latest information?

The first lawsuit filed under the Massachusetts Equal Pay Act (MEPA)—a claim against the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO)—was settled last week pursuant to the terms of a confidential agreement between the parties.

New Jersey employers can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that a federal court has just pronounced that the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act, which went into effect on July 1, 2018, is not retroactive. This gives you some additional time to comply with the dictates of the law—the most sweeping equal pay statute enacted in the country—without the fear that employees will succeed in federal lawsuits alleging non-compliance with the law’s equal pay mandates prior to its enactment. While there is a chance that a state court might view things differently, this decision is a positive development.

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