AL passes equal pay act

Published 3:22 am Wednesday, June 19, 2019

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The National Partnership for Women and Families’ fact sheet says that in Alabama, women are paid an average 76 cents for every dollar a man in Alabama makes. As of this past week, things will be changing. On June 12, Gov. Kay Ivey signed the equal pay act, which was sponsored by Rep. Adline Clarke, D-Mobile.

The bill will prohibit businesses from paying workers, who perform the same type and amount of work, less than other employees because of race or gender. The bill does make exceptions for seniority and merit.

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Alabama Rep. Clarke said that she made it her mission to get the equal pay act passed because she said many of her constituents told her about the pay discrimination they were facing.

“There are 48 other states in the U.S. who have passed this,” Clarke said. “Pay discrimination exists. It’s not right. If not me, then who? If not now, then when?”

Before Ivey signed this bill, Alabama was one of the only two states in the U.S. to not have an equal pay act in place. Mississippi is now the only state. Clarke said she acquired about 30 cosponsors for the bill and had plenty of support from her fellow Alabama representatives including Rep. Alan Baker. Baker said that the bill mirrors the Federal Equal Pay Act of 1963 in how ensure employees receive equal pay regardless of gender and race. The bill also ensures the ability to bring a lawsuit at the state and federal level. The bill states it will come into effect on the first day of the third month following approval, so it should be in place by September.