Push for greater equality: Adline Clarke proposes ‘gender pay gap’ bill

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It’s a fact: women earn less than men.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, women who worked full-time, year-round in 2014 earned on average, 79% of men’s median annual earnings.

That’s not sitting well with one Alabama lawmaker who’s hoping her gender pay gap legislation makes it across the finish line as the 2018 legislative session nears its close.

HB368, sponsored by Mobile-Democrat State Rep. Adline Clarke, would prohibit employers from paying their employees less than the wage they would pay a member of the opposite sex for a similar job or responsibilities when viewed as a composite of skill, effort, and responsibility, as specified.

Alabama is one of only two states, along with Mississippi, without an equal pay law.

“Nearly every state has a law prohibiting employers differently based solely on gender. I’m disappointed. I would have thought we would have passed a long long before now,” Clarke told AL.com “Timing is everything.”

However, HB368, also known as the “Gender Pay Gap,” would not just make wage inequality illegal, but would also add several provisions to the law including:

  • Requires an employer to affirmatively demonstrate that a wage differential is based upon one or more specified factors
  • Prohibits an employer from discharging, or in any manner discriminating against. or retaliating against an employee for the enforcement of these provisions
  • Provides for enforcement of the bill
  • Provides that an employer may not prohibit an employee from disclosing the employee’s own wages, discussing the wages of others, inquiring about another employee’s wages, or aiding or encouraging any other employee to exercise his or her rights under these provisions
  • And requires an employer to maintain a record of wages paid to his 15 or her employee for a certain amount of time.

The proposal, filed on Feb. 1, is scheduled to appear before the Alabama House State Government Committee on March 21.

Alexander City-Republican State Rep. Mark Tuggle, the committee’s chairman, hopes to have Clarke’s proposal on the committee agenda next week.

The bill currently has 26 co-sponsors, both Republicans and Democrats:

  1. Autauga County-Democrat Kelvin Lawrence
  2. Mobile County-Democrat Barbara Drummond
  3. Barbour County-Democrat Barry Forte
  4. Perry County-Democrat Prince Chestnut
  5. Jefferson County-Democrat Rolanda Hollis
  6. Madison County-Democrat Anthony Daniels
  7. Jefferson County-Democrat Rod Scott
  8. Tallapoosa County-Democrat Pebblin Warren
  9. Choctaw County-Democrat Elaine Beech
  10. Madison County-Democrat Laura Hall
  11. Jefferson County-Democrat Merika Coleman
  12. Jefferson County-Democrat Mary Moore
  13. Mobile County-Democrat Napolean Bracy
  14. Blount County-Republican Connie Rowe
  15. Shelby County-Republican April Weaver
  16. Talladega County-Democrat Barbara Boyd
  17. Jefferson County-Democrat Juandalynn Givan
  18. Etowah County-Republican Becky Nordgren
  19. Morgan County-Republican Terri Collins
  20. Montgomery County-Democrat John F. Knight
  21. Montgomery County-Democrat Thad McClammy
  22. Tuscaloosa County-Democrat Artis McCampbell
  23. Mobile County-Democrat James Buskey
  24. Bibb County-Democrat Ralph Howard
  25. Lauderdale County-Democrat Marcel Black
  26. Houston County-Democrat Dexter Grimsley
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