Women Employed Helps Lead Passage Of Pay Transparency Bill

May 18th, 2023

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Women Employed, ​​which has been creating fundamental, systemic change for working women for 50 years, today applauded the passage of HB 3129, a pay transparency bill that passed in the Illinois General Assembly and awaits Gov. Pritzker’s signature. The pay transparency bill, which amends the Illinois Equal Pay Act, continues the state’s commitment to ensuring equal pay for all workers.

Sponsored by Rep. Mary Beth Canty and Sen. Cristina Pacione-Zayas, HB 3129 requires businesses with 15 or more employees to include pay range amounts on job postings beginning January 2025.

“Wage and salary transparency is an essential step toward pay equity and closing the racial and gender pay gap,” Canty said. “Both workers and employers benefit when applicants can make informed choices.”

In Illinois, closing the gender wage gap would translate into a 16% increase in women’s earnings, totaling $20.5 billion, a huge boost for the state’s economy. It also means 1.1 million children would benefit from equal pay, reducing the poverty rate for children with working mothers by 43%.

“Wages and benefits determine how much food caregivers can bring to the table, and if they can afford essential health care treatment and other necessary costs that determine a family’s quality of life,” said Pacione-Zayas. “Transparency is essential to ensure employees are not misled when accepting a role with wages that cannot support them or their family.”

Women Employed has advocated for all of the equal pay laws currently on the books in Illinois, including the no salary history bill that passed in 2019. The law banned asking job applicants their previous salary and eliminated a practice that had perpetuated racial and gender wage gaps.

“We’re proud to help lead the state’s commitment to pay equity,” said Sharmili Majmudar, Executive Vice President of Policy, Programs, and Research at Women Employed. “We’re grateful to Rep. Canty and Sen. Pacione-Zayas who are committed to ensuring women – and particularly women of color who face larger pay gaps – get their fair share. We’re also grateful to our partners at the Shriver Center on Poverty Law and the National Women’s Law Center for their work on this bill and our shared commitment to pay equity.”

Without pay range information, workers cannot accurately assess job opportunities and negotiate in an informed manner. Disclosing the salary or salary range for a position helps keep employers accountable, levels the negotiating playing field, and gives applicants, employees, and enforcement agencies information to identify and remedy any unjustified pay disparities.

Providing pay range information also saves time and money for both employers and job seekers. Adobe’s Future Workforce Study of upcoming college seniors and recent college grads revealed 85% are less likely to apply for a job if the company does not disclose the salary range in the job posting. Other surveys show that job seekers are significantly more likely to apply for a job if there is a pay range in the posting.

Pay range transparency also helps businesses of all sizes more efficiently and effectively find and match candidates who are interested and would take the position. This helps save costs and gives small businesses without an HR team an edge, which is why many small businesses already include pay ranges in job announcements.

Women Employed is currently the lead partner for the Illinois FARE Grant project, spearheaded by the Illinois Department of Labor and funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau, which seeks to ensure that women across the state, especially those in low-paid jobs, are aware of their equal pay rights, remedies, and resources. The effort has resulted in women across the state better understanding and fighting for their workplace rights.

With this bill, Illinois joins Colorado, Washington, and New York City in passing laws specifically requiring pay ranges be included in job postings.

Together, we will ensure more women, families, and communities can build their economic power and thrive.

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