HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — In recognition of Equal Pay Day on March 14, two Pennsylvania Senators are seeking to close the gender wage gap by re-introducing legislation to modernize Pennsylvania’s Equal Pay Laws.

Senators Steve Santarsiero (D-10) and Maria Collett (D-12) say they will be working to close the gender wage gap.

“It is inconceivable that in 2023, women in Pennsylvania still earn less than their male colleagues for the same work,” said Senator Santarsiero. “This is not only about fairness. It is an important economic issue. Ensuring women receive fair and equal pay will reinvigorate Pennsylvania’s economy and lift women and children out of poverty.”

According to the lawmakers, women in Pennsylvania currently make 79 cents for every dollar paid to men, creating a gap of more than $10,000 every year.

Factors such as occupational segregation, bias against working mothers, and direct pay discrimination have contributed to the gender wage gap.

In order to help resolve the inequity, SB 421 will update the antiquated Equal Pay Laws to do the following:

  • Broaden the scope of current law to include more employees and fringe benefits
  • Protect employees from retaliation when asking about wage information, ensuring that the wages are solid and not deceitful
  • Provide workers the ability to collect unpaid wages when an employer is found to violate the law

“In the five years since Senator Santarsiero and I first introduced this bill, neither it nor women’s wages have moved,” said Senator Collett. “Pennsylvania women still earn even less on the dollar than women in other states. The disparity is even more pronounced for women of color. Closing the pay gap is good for our workers, good for our economy, and good for our families.”

Senators Santarsiero and Collett have both introduced similar bills each legislative session since they took office in 2018.