A candidate for governor of Maryland has introduced a new labor law proposal to her political platform that would aim at narrowing or eliminating the gap between men and women’s pay. At the moment on a national level women make 77 cents for every dollar that a man ears. In Maryland the gap is slightly smaller at 85 cents on the dollar, but the inequality remains. This makes it harder for mothers to support their families and to be financially independent.
The proposal by the politician makes one big change that would offer a shakeup in labor law – making it illegal to retaliate against an employee who discusses their salary. In most workplaces discussing pay is grounds for disciplinary action or even termination, so most workers do not know what their colleagues earn and how it compares to their pay, making it harder to detect disparities that may be based on factors other than experience and qualifications.
In another effort to improve the situation for women in the workplace, the proposal also includes paid family leave time funded by the state, to allow parents to take the time they need to care for a new child or attend to an ailing family member. Under current laws workers are entitled to job-protected leave but it is unpaid, making it difficult for employees to take advantage of the full 12 week per year allotment.
These are two interesting proposals that would have a major impact on workplace policies throughout Maryland if this bill becomes a law.
Source: Washington Post, “Md. Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Mizeur proposes plans on equal pay, paid family leave,” John Wagner, March 20, 2014.