Geiss Continues the Fight for Pay Equity

LANSING — Sen. Erika Geiss (D–Taylor) has introduced legislation to end the pay gap in Michigan. The bill is part of a larger package of 12 bills in the House and Senate that have been introduced by legislative Democrats to ensure pay equity in Michigan.

Sen. Geiss’s bill, Senate Bill 330, would allow employees to request wage information for similarly situated employees from their employer. The bill requires employers to, within 30 days, provide information about the wage, sex and seniority of similarly situated employees. 

“When women earn less than male counterparts for doing the same work, whole households, communities and our entire state lose,” Sen. Geiss said. “Wage discrimination is an outdated and irresponsible practice of systemic inequity for women and especially women of color. If Michigan’s economy and society are to truly thrive, our state must ensure women are paid the same as their male counterparts for the same work. It’s just that simple.” 

In Michigan, women earn 78 cents for every dollar a man makes, but the pay gap is even larger for women of color. Studies have shown that part of the problem perpetuating this cycle is that when more women enter a profession dominated by men, wages drop for that profession.

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was passed by Congress on March 22, 1972, and sent to the states for ratification. In order to be added to the U.S. Constitution, it needed approval by legislatures in three-fourths (38) of the 50 states. Michigan signed on in support on May 22nd of that year.

By 1977, 35 states had approved the amendment but, despite extending the deadline to June 1982, the ERA ultimately fell three states short of ratification. Two additional states have since ratified the ERA — Illinois in 2018 and Nevada in 2017 — leaving one remaining state to go.


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