The Senate Commerce Committee unanimously voted to recommend the passage of Senate Bill 207, the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act. After the vote Senate Minority Leader Sylvia Larsen released the following statement:
”This definitive, bipartisan action by the Senate Commerce Committee affirms that both Republicans and Democrats agree we must act to close the wage gap in New Hampshire.”
“The New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act will give the more than 60% of women working in today’s economy, as the primary or co-breadwinners for their families, the much needed tools they need to combat the wage gap.”
“It’s distressing that, in the year 2014, women in New Hampshire, who are working full-time jobs, still earn only 77 cents on the dollar compared to men. National studies have found that a pay gap exists between men and women in nearly every occupation. However, with this bipartisan, unanimous vote, we are sending a crystal clear message that the Legislature is on the side of all workers guaranteeing fair and equal paycheck, without fear of retaliation.”
”I look forward to a strong vote of the full Senate and quick House action, so New Hampshire can renew our commitment to the fundamental principle of, an equal day’s work deserves an equal day’s pay.”
Senate Bill 207 has been cited by Senate and House Democrats as a top priority for the 2014 legislative session. All Senate Democrats have sponsored the legislation with House Speaker Terie Norelli serving as the leading House sponsor along with co-sponsors Rep. Shannon Chandley (D-Amherst), Rep. MaryAnn Knowles (D-Hudson), and Rep. Marjorie Porter (D-Hillsboro).
Governor Hassan also showed her support for SB 207 in her statement:
““I applaud the Senate Commerce Committee for their bipartisan recognition of the need to eliminate the pay gap between our working women and men. Well over half of the women working in today’s economy are either the primary or co-breadwinners in their families, and it is unacceptable that women in New Hampshire working full-time jobs earn only 77 cents on the dollar compared to men.”
“This legislation will improve the financial security of working families and help business grow by putting more money in the pockets of consumers. I encourage the full Senate to continue demonstrating that, unlike Washington, in New Hampshire, we can come together on common-sense solutions by passing the Paycheck Fairness Act.”
Aside from the political leaders in Concord many other groups voiced their praise in the committee unanimously supporting paycheck fairness.
Mark MacKenzie, President of the NH AFL-CIO: “Equal pay for equal work is more than a motto – it’s the law. SB 207, the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act, is another step in the right direction. It prohibits employers from barring an employee from disclosing information about his or her wages and it also prohibits employer retaliation against an employee who does disclose the amount of his or her wages.”
Kary Jencks, Executive Director, NH Citizens Alliance for Action: “We thank Senator Larsen for encouraging bi-partisan action today to ensure equal pay for equal work. A woman’s earnings, whether she is married or not, are crucial to family support. Closing the wage gap in New Hampshire is important for the equality and economic security of Granite Staters.”
Zandra Rice Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress: “Data shows that New Hampshire women make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. SB 207 will give employees the tools they need to challenge wage gaps. Coupled with the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act already in law, these two acts can help to create a climate where wage discrimination is no longer tolerated.”
Devon Chaffee, Executive Director of the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union: “We applaud the Senate Committee for its bipartisan support of this important effort to eliminate unfair gender paycheck inequities in the state of New Hampshire.”
Kimberly Pollard, Regional Organizer for the American Association of University Women (AAUW) of New Hampshire: “Today, women are the leading or sole breadwinner in forty percent of households. The pay gap affects whether families can buy food, pay the mortgage, and stay healthy. By moving forward with the Paycheck Fairness Act, the Senate Commerce Committee has taken a positive step toward closing the wage gap and ending gender discrimination in the workplace.”
The Paycheck Fairness bill is about closing the gap between pay disparities between men and women. This bill is another step in the process by allowing women (and men) to openly discuss their wages with others, ensuring that they are being fairly compared to those in the same job.