Planned Parenthood Supports Equal Pay Bill

Maine pay gap greater than national average

Portland, Maine –– As the wage gap persists for women across occupations, educational levels, races, and parenthood status, the Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund will be supporting LD 1259, a bill to strengthen Maine’s equal pay laws.

“It is unacceptable that in 2017 women still earn less than men for the same work,” said Nicole Clegg, Vice President of Public Policy for the Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. “As a leading women’s health care provider and advocate, we hear from women every day who work full-time and struggle to make ends meet. Ensuring all women receive equal pay for equal work is something we can address right now to help make a difference in women’s lives.”

The bill sponsored by Senator Cathy Breen of Cumberland amends the Maine Human Rights Act so that employers seeking information about prospective employee’s prior wage history before offering employment would be evidence of pay discrimination. The bill also broadens a provision in current equal pay law to prohibit employers from preventing employees from discussing wages.

“By basing current salary on salary history, pay inequity of the past is perpetuated in the future,” added Clegg. “Employees need to be able to discuss wages and salaries; you cannot fight pay disparity if you don’t know there is a disparity.”

The wage gap doesn’t just impact economic success, it impacts a person’s ability to get health care: low-income women are less likely than affluent women to have access to the most effective forms of birth control.

The public hearing for LD 1259 will be held tomorrow, Tuesday, May 2nd, at 1 p.m. in the Labor, Commerce, Research, and Economic Development Committee.

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