Coalition Statement

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The Michigan Equal Pay Day Coalition invites the public to recognize Equal Pay Day, a national day of recognition that, even after 56 years of federal law banning sex-based wage discrimination, there is still a significant pay gap between women’s and men’s wages. The Michigan Equal Pay Legislative Day Rally will occur at 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 29, 2020, on the State Capitol Steps, Lansing. Similar events are occurring across the nation. A legislative briefing is scheduled 9:30 am to 12:40 am at Central Methodist Church 215 N. Capitol Ave., Lansing, MI. REGISTER NOW!

Equal Pay Day symbolizes how far into 2020 women must work to earn what men earned in 2019. Tuesday is the day of the week on which women’s wages catch up to men’s wages from the previous week. Red is worn on the day to symbolize that women’s wages are “in the red.”

Advocates will urge passage of House and Senate bills to:

·       Strengthening the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to make it clear that sex-based wage discrimination is illegal under Michigan law and incorporating the equal pay factors into the ELCRA.

·       Establishing a pay equity study commission to examine the scope of the issue in Michigan and provide technical assistance to employers.

·       Providing wage transparency for similarly situated employees.

·       Increasing penalties for wage discrimination based on gender.

The latest federal government data indicates women’s median annual earnings for full-time work was 78.6 cents for every dollar men made. This means the gender wage gap for full-time/year-round workers is now 21.4 cents nationally. Michigan is a little worse at 77 cents and ranks 33rd in the U.S. At the current rate, women will not receive equal pay until 2086 (Institute for Women’s Policy Research).

Women, on average, earn less than men in virtually every occupation for which there are sufficient earnings data for both men and women to calculate an earnings ratio. Women of color face an even larger wage gap. As chronicled in the AAUW study Graduating to a Pay Gap, sex-based wage disparities start with a college-educated woman’s first job when compared to men with equivalent degrees. The gender wage gap not only continues during her career, but shows an increase over time.

Since more women than ever before are the sole or primary source of household income, the wage gap is a serious issue for the economic security of families. It is time for the disparities to end by strengthening our laws in Michigan.

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