Equal Pay Day: EWNJ’s Davis praises Murphy’s tweet that he’ll sign equal pay bill

Gov. Phil Murphy tweeted Tuesday that he will sign equal pay legislation on April 24. The announcement came on Equal Pay Day.

Michellene Davis, president of Executive Women of New Jersey and an executive with RWJBarnabas Health, issued a statement praising Murphy’s announcement.

“This is a historic day for the state of New Jersey, and we applaud the New Jersey State Legislature for passing this landmark pay equity legislation, and we applaud Gov. Phil Murphy for saying he will sign it into law and continuing to lead on this issue. We also commend Sen. Loretta Weinberg for leading the charge on crafting and fighting for this law. The bill, S104, which prohibits unequal pay for ‘substantially similar work’ and guarantees that women who have experienced discrimination can receive up to six years of back pay, is one of the most far-reaching attempts to close the pay gap in the country.

“Ensuring that women receive equal pay for equal work should not be controversial, nor should it be negotiable. Data shows that if New Jersey women received equal pay for equal work, the poverty rate for working women in the state would drop by half and the economy would grow by $16.6 billion, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Moreover, as evidenced in the 2017 EWNJ report on gender diversity in senior corporate leadership, ‘A Seat at the Table: Celebrating Women and Board Leadership,’ women deliver significant and quantifiable business value to companies. Public companies with more women on their boards not only have stronger financial performance but fewer governance-related issues such as bribery, corruption, shareholder battles and fraud.

“This much-needed legislation will address the fact that, currently in New Jersey, women working full time earn only 82 cents for every dollar earned by a man. For black and Hispanic women, this gap is far worse, 58 cents and 43 cents, respectively. Moreover, this wage gap is prevalent across all educational backgrounds. This inequity not only negatively impacts women and their families, but it also harms the economic progress of our state. While there is more work to be done, we salute the New Jersey State Legislature, Gov. Phil Murphy, Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, Sen. Loretta Weinberg and all of the sponsors of this legislation for working to ensure that women are paid what they deserve. It is fitting that the passing of S104 will come at the end of a Women’s History Month with the theme ‘Nevertheless, She Persisted: Honoring Women Who Fight All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.'”

Murphy had made equal pay a prominent issue early in his term, with his first executive order mandating changes in hiring practices for state employees.