Proposed Legislation Follows IPP Research

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Jacqueline Schumacher
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The Institute of Public Policy’s Status of Women Report,[1]commissioned by the Women’s Foundation and released in December 2014, lends insight into the newly proposed legislation on gender pay equality.  Missouri House Representative Steven Webber (D) proposed House Bill 44, which would allow the Missouri Department of Labor to establish guidelines related to gender pay equality.  Such guidelines would serve as a resource for state/local government and private businesses.  Contrary to critic’s misconceptions, the bill does not aim to regulate pay in the public or private sector.  Rather, it will allow for an investigation into pay equality.  Emily Johnson, Associate Director, Institute of Public Policy, says “Taking an investigative approach to understanding pay inequality is the first step in addressing the problem.”  According to the bill, the guidelines would include research-based explanations of the gender pay imbalance and will examine reasons behind gender pay bias.  Finally, the bill will examine the benefits of equal pay and establish guidelines on how to reach wage parity.  This bill has 12 co-sponsors in the Missouri House and was heard in the House’s Workforce Standards and Development Committee on March 8, 2015.  The Senate’s coordinating Bill (SB144) is sponsored by Paul LeVota (D) and was heard in the Senate’s Committee on Small Business, Insurance, and Industry on March 17, 2015.

Women’s Foundation President and CEO, Wendy Doyle, testified in support of House Bill 44 & Senate Bill 144.  She reminded Committee members that pay equality is not a one-sided discussion, “Men are not immune to this issue.  Through our research with [the Institute of Public Policy in] the Truman School of Public Affairs, we found men have concerns for their wives’ ability to generate income to contribute to household budgets and for daughters’ need to be economically self-sufficient.”  The Women’s Foundation believes developing best practices guidelines for Missouri employers will make measurable and real differences in the financial bottom line for women.

IPP’s research and expertise is on hand as the Missouri General Assembly evaluates the merits of House Bill 44 & Senate Bill 144.

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