- Office of State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump
Media Contact for Auditor Bump Signs Letter in 2015 Calling for Equal Pay in Massachusetts
Mike Wessler, Communications Director
Boston — Dear Chairman Wolf and Chairman Scibak,
I am writing to you to express my support for House bill 1733 An Act relative to pay equity, which will be heard by your committee on July 21st.
This piece of legislation is critical to closing the gender wage gap, which has been disadvantaging women across the country with no end in sight.
In Massachusetts, the picture is slightly better for women than it is nationally, with the wage gap at $.80 of the dollar rather than $.78. That means that 63% of the workforce is losing approximately $12,239,814,352 annually. The burden of that wage gap is compounded when one considers that over half of households with minor children include mothers as sole or primary breadwinners and the vast majority of those living in poverty in the US are women and children. As the state auditor, it is my job to look at the numbers to make sure that government is working as best as it can for everyone. I must tell you – these numbers do not add up.
These are more than statistics – they have a very real impact on the lives of women. The wage gap puts entire families at risk and lower wages make it harder for women to be self-sufficient throughout their retirement.
A recent report by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research projected that, at the rate we are going, the gender wage gap will be closed in Massachusetts by 2058 with 21 states closing their gaps before us. Furthermore, our 80% earnings ratio places Massachusetts in 18th place nationally for pay equity. I know that we can do better.
An Act relative to pay equity addresses the gender wage gap in several important ways. For one, it defines “comparable work,” the lack of a definition for which has served as a significant loophole in our current pay equity law for years. It also permits employees to discuss their wages with one another, thereby removing a significant barrier to exposing pay disparities and allowing remedial action to be taken. Finally, it requires employers to post minimum pay in want ads and prohibits them from paying any less than what is advertised.
Closing the wage gap would cut the number of women living in poverty in half, providing them with more disposable income which would stimulate the Commonwealth’s economy. It would also help end the cycle of poverty that can persist throughout generations within a family. House Bill 1733 makes sense for women and it makes sense for the Commonwealth. For these reasons, I respectfully urge you to report this bill out favorably.
Suzanne M. Bump