Gap Narrows, but Pay Disparity Still Exists in Minnesota

Updated: 09/02/2014 7:25 AM
Created: 09/01/2014 9:34 PM
By: Tim Sherno

Pay disparity between men and women still exists in Minnesota, even as recent legislation moves to close any differences in pay between employees doing the same work.

House Majority Leader Erin Murphy, DFL-Minn., says it's an issue of fairness.

"I think that Minnesotans would expect that equal work should be rewarded with equal pay," she said. "I think that Minnesotans believe men and women should be treated the same in the workplace. It is a matter of basic fairness; it's a value we embrace in Minnesota."

Earlier this year, the legislature passed the Women's Economic Security Act, which Gov. Mark Dayton signed. The law requires large state contractors to comply with equal pay laws, closes the earnings gap for women by ensuring the state contractors are in compliance with equal pay laws and protects employees who discuss compensation.

Murphy says open discussion about pay empowers employees.

"In the past, employees have been subject to discipline or have been forbidden to talk about their pay, but in the Women's Economic Security Act it's important for employees to understand how they're faring, and the only way they can figure out if they're being paid equally is to understand what their counterparts are being paid," she said.

When President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act back in 1963, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, for every dollar a man made a woman made $0.59. Currently, for every dollar a man makes a woman makes $0.81, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That gap is more narrow in urban areas and wider in both high-income areas and in Greater Minnesota.


Photo: KSTP/File

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