NEWS: Democratic Lawmakers Introduce Equal Pay and Living Wage Act

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Legislation Aims to Create Living Wage Standards and Calls for Increase to the Minimum Wage

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 14, 2015

JUNEAU – Today, Representative Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage) and Representative Harriet Drummond (D-Anchorage) joined thousands of Americans taking action on unfair pay practices by introducing the Equal Pay and Living Wage Act.  The bill, which is introduced on Equal Pay Day, increases the minimum wage to a $15 living wage starting January 1, 2017.

“Alaskan woman make 67 cents to every Alaskan man’s dollar.  This means women are working harder than ever to make ends meet,” said Rep. Tarr.  “Across the country cities and states are recognizing that a strong middle class leads to a strong economy and fair wages help accomplish that.”

Nationally, Equal Pay Day symbolizes the gender wage gap where women had to work from January 1, 2014 to April 14, 2015 for a salary their male counterparts earned within the January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014 calendar year.  Because of the bigger wage gap in Alaska, May 1 is Alaska’s pay equity day.  That’s nearly one month after the national pay equity day.

“The fact of the matter is that we have not made enough progress in making sure women are paid fairly,” said Rep. Drummond.  “This bill is a step forward in making Alaska a place where a  woman’s hard work is valued and rewarded just as much as any man’s.”

“I applaud Representatives Tarr and Drummond for introducing this legislation and for joining the YWCA effort to eliminate the gender pay gap in Alaska by 2025,” said Hilary Morgan, CEO of YWCA Alaska.  “I invite all legislators to attend the upcoming Gender Pay Equity Summit this May as a forum for creating solutions to the barriers facing working women in Alaska.”

Through a bold and unique methodology YWCA will simultaneously help women and girls self-advocate while assisting corporate leadership in creating gender neutral companies.  The second annual Pay Equity Summit to commemorate Alaska’s pay equity day will be May 1 at the Millennium Alaskan Hotel in Anchorage from 8:30 am to 6 pm. 

In addition to closing the gender pay gap and increasing Alaska’s minimum wage, the Equal Pay and Living Wage Act calls for the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the Executive Director of the State Commission for Human Rights, and the Commissioner of the Department of Administration to prepare an annual report regarding pay practices in Alaska.

Also today, the US Department of Labor hosted an online event for Equal Pay Day.  The White House page on Equal Pay can be found here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/equal-pay/career

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