MONTANA – One hundred years after the Montana Legislature passed a law requiring women be paid the same wage for doing the same job as a man, Governor Steve Bullock today at an Equal Pay Day celebration, alongside the Equal Pay for Equal Work Task Force and Montana legislators, renewed calls to continue that forward-thinking and close the wage gap.
“Montana was far ahead of the rest of the nation in passing an equal pay law 100 years ago, yet we know that alone hasn’t been enough to close the pay gap,” Governor Bullock said. “That’s why over the last six years Montana’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Task Force has taken steps to narrow the wage gap, and businesses have stepped up to revise their own workplace policies with equity in mind. I want both of my daughters to know that if they desire to stay in Montana and raise their own families here, ours is a state where they can prosper and be valued for their contribution to our state’s economy.”
Six years after launching the Equal Pay for Equal Work Task Force, Governor Steve Bullock on National Equal Pay Day renewed his charge to close Montana’s gender wage gap. The Task Force has taken steps to narrow the wage gap through wage negotiation trainings, business outreach, and championing policies that can lead to shrinking the pay gap.
Representative Laurie Bishop is sponsoring HB 547 which would protect employees from retaliation for talking about their wages. Transparent pay policies can help narrow the wage gap by increasing opportunities for all employees, improve worker productivity, and promotes pay fairness. Marking the first time an equal pay bill has passed out of a committee or floor during Bullock’s tenure as governor, HB 547 is currently before the Senate Business, Labor, and Economic Affairs committee.
“Montana has been a trailblazer throughout history, and this is another issue on which the state could be a leader,” Rep. Bishop said. “Data solidifies what working women can identify with -- even with equal pay laws on the books, women are more likely to be paid less than men. I’ll continue to work across the aisle and develop common-sense policies that will help narrow the pay gap.”
When the Task Force started its work in 2013, women earned 66.7 percent of the median earnings of their male co-workers. Today, that gap has narrowed to 73 percent. Nearly 300 businesses across the state have signed the Equal Pay Pledge, promising to strive for equity in their own hiring practices.
For more information about Governor Bullock’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Task Force, visit equalpay.mt.gov.