Rep. Vicki Kraft testifies on equal pay bill in House Labor and Workplace Standards Committee

Rep. Vicki Kraft, R-Vancouver, appeared before the House Labor and Workplace Standards Committee Tuesday afternoon to testify on her bill for equal pay. House Bill 1447, would prohibit wage discrimination on the basis of whether you are a man or a woman.

Currently the federal Equal Pay Act (EPA) prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of whether an employee is male or female. Kraft's proposal for the Washington Equal Pay Act would require equal pay for a man, or woman, when their positions require equal work, skill or effort and are located in the same county.

“Unquestionably, there is much interest in this conversation and we need to address this issue,” said Kraft. “Fifty-four years after President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law, many women still experience gender-based discrimination in the work place. This bill will ensure employees are treated with respect and guarantee fair workplace practices for pay.”

Employers are allowed exceptions in pay due to any bona fide factor including education, training, performance or experience. If the discrepancy in pay was deliberate, the employee would be allowed to recover damages equal to the actual damages incurred. Damages could include the difference in wages owed, with interest, plus attorney's fees.

“Equal pay for equal work is an American value,” said Kraft. “Since the Equal Pay Act was enacted 1963, the difference in men and women's earnings has continued to narrow. But, there are still challenges. This isn't only a woman's issue, men and women deserve equal pay for equal work.”

Kraft's bill would also prohibit any retaliation by employers for workplace discussions about wages. However, this would not apply to employees' who have access to other employees wages, as part of their essential job functions.

Read more about House Bill 1447Rep. Vicki Kraft, R-Vancouver, testifies for Equal Pay Act

CAPTION: Rep. Vicki Kraft, R-Vancouver, testifies on Equal Pay Act in House Labor and Workplace Standards Committee, Jan. 24.


Washington State House Republican Communications