Equal Pay Advocates Make Their Push in Connecticut

Groups and lawmakers advocating for equal pay for equal work spoke out at the Connecticut State Capitol Tuesday.

Tuesday was National Equal Pay Day for women, the day advocates say is when women earn what their male counterparts earn for the 2016 calendar year.

"It takes us longer to earn the same amount of money," said Kate Farrar, Executive Director of the Connecticut Women's Education and Legal Fund.

The Labor Committee in the General Assembly has already approved, on a party-line 7-6 vote, legislation that would place new restrictions on employers when it comes compensation, job history and what they can ask during application processes.

The most notable proposal would bar employers from asking all applicants about their previous compensation.

“Businesses want to hire based on qualifications, how hard you work, how productive you’re going to be, not based on gender," said Rep. Derek Slap, the bill's sponsor.

"Discrimination is inefficient," he added.

The business community has lined up against the proposal, as well as, top House Republican Themis Klarides.

She says any official moves to ensure a woman makes less money than a male counterpart should be addressed and is unacceptable, she said. However, Klarides, described questioning about an applicant's previous as a "tool in a tool box," and said the legislature shouldn't be doing anything that "ties the hands," of small businesses.

The group that represents businesses across the state, the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, describe the proposals from Rep. Slap as "layers of new regulations and costs at a time when Connecticut has fallen way behind in our recession-related job recovery."

People like Amy Tenenbaum, a junior at Central Connecticut State University, say these kinds of proposals are long overdue.

She says since she will owe tens of thousands in student loans, and then anticipates to make less than men, she feels this is a way to reshuffle the deck.

“I’m going to be paying interest on this so I’m going to actually be paying more money for college so I’m making less money and I’m paying more for college. It doesn’t make any sense.”

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