COMMISSION ON WOMEN CELEBRATES 100TH SIGNER TO VERMONT EQUAL PAY COMPACT
January 25, 2017 (Montpelier, VT): The Vermont Commission on Women’s Equal Pay Compact, a voluntary online pledge enabling Vermont-based employers to learn more about and to indicate a commitment to closing the gender wage gap, just celebrated an important milestone: the 100th employer to sign on.
“This project launched on Equal Pay Day 2015 to inform employers about practical steps they can take to eliminate the wage gap in their business and across Vermont.” says Cary Brown, Vermont Commission on Women’s Executive Director. “Legislation alone can’t fix this: employers are the key. We provide consultation and a list of strategies employers can draw on, anything from quick and easy fixes, like enlisting diverse evaluators in the hiring process, to more complex ones, like creating flex time, job sharing, and telecommuting programs. The idea is to inspire positive change in employer practices.”
Seth Leonard, the Mayor of the City of Winooski, explains why they signed on to the Equal Pay Compact. "A commitment to equal pay policies makes us more competitive, allowing us to recruit and retain qualified people to government work. This is a process that requires a long-term commitment to both creating and maintaining a just compensation system. We are pleased to join in the Compact and work toward our goal of recognizing and rewarding all of our employees."
Kelly Walsh, advisor and recruiter to the project, continues. “Vermont is chock full of socially responsible employers working hard to do all the right things for their employees, and this is a great way to spotlight and acknowledge those businesses. For employers who want to attract and retain female employees, being listed on the Vermont Equal Pay Compact’s site is a public expression of support.”
The Equal Pay Compact is one way in which the Vermont Commission on Women works as a partner in Change The Story Vermont, along with Vermont Works for Women and the Vermont Women’s Fund. Change The Story is an initiative to align policy, program, and philanthropy to significantly improve women’s economic status in our state. For more information and to sign up for the Compact, please visit women.vermont.gov.
• Our organization/business already does a lot around pay equity; OR, Our organization has never considered pay equity before. Is this initiative for my business?
YES! All Vermont employers interested in helping to close the gender wage gap in Vermont are encouraged to participate, regardless of their previous experience with gender/pay equity.
• How much does it cost?
It is FREE to sign on to the Equal Pay Compact.
• Who else has signed on?
See the full list to the right of this screen-->! Click through to visit their business website.
• Will businesses be "graded" on performance?
NO. The Vermont Commission on Women does not grade employers on their equity performance. Staff are available to consult with employers about what strategies would work best for them, and what role they could play to improve pay equity in their organization, in their industry and across Vermont as a whole.
• What do employers get for signing on?
RECOGNITION AND SUPPORT. We offer a list of strategies to consider and resources to inform employers about the wage gap. Every signer receives a static-cling decal in the mail to display in their business or organization’s window, and their business name and website link will appear on the list Compact signersto the right of this screen-->. Signers also can opt to be featured in our promotional efforts.
• How are employers held accountable once they sign on?
Staff will be in touch with your organization/business periodically to check in about progress towards closing the wage gap. There are no reports or tests - only the offer of support and assistance to keep this initiative moving forward!
• What other benefits are there to signing on?
Your business or organization will be able to attract and retain the highest level of talent in Vermont by cultivating an equitable workforce. The Compact recognizes that employer commitment is essential to closing the wage gap in Vermont. In fact, employer interventions are among the most effective remedies to the wage gap and can contribute to lasting, positive change in the workplace.
The Vermont Equal Pay Compact is a powerful way to recognize the loss our economy suffers when:
- Vermont women earn only 83% of what Vermont men earn – resulting in millions of dollars of lost income that is not going into our economy
- Vermont women are underrepresented in the jobs that pay the most, and overrepresented in the lowest-paying jobs
- Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) occupations, and the opportunities they bring, are dominated by men
- There is tremendous untapped potential in Vermont women who don’t see opportunities or who aren’t able to access them, and Vermont girls who don’t get the education they need to enter the highest-paying professions
Questions? Concerns? Contact us.
QUOTES FROM COMPACT SIGNERS
"The Vermont Land Trust (VLT) protects land for the future of all Vermonters. The number of farms operated in Vermont by women is among the highest in the country and we are proud to assist in making that possible by helping keep land available for those that wish to farm. VLT's Farmland Access Program connects enterprising farmers of all genders to land where they can support themselves and their employees through successful agricultural businesses. VLT believes in equal opportunities for women (and all genders) in the working landscape and at the workplace. This belief is reflected in our employee culture, where we openly discuss power, privilege, equity and fairness."
- Teija Huttunen-Green, The Vermont Land Trust's Director or Operations & Technology
"Vermont Energy Investment Corporation is committed to paying our women the same as their male counterparts and we are proud to share our story and help others along their journey. We signed the Equal Pay Compact to demonstrate our commitment and we encourage other employers to do the same."
- Erika Schramm, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation
"Signing on to publicly voice our commitment to equal pay was the easiest choice I can recall making in years. If, as an employer, I had any doubt about how important it is to be clear about such a commitment, I'd hope my friends, family, and staff would gladly embarrass me for it. Frankly, I'm embarrassed that as a community we still have so far to go on such a basic issue of fairness and equality."
- Wes Hamilton, Three Penny Taproom/Mule Bar/Mad Taco
"Gardener’s Supply Company is proud to join Vermont's leaders in ensuring that women in business earn equal pay for equal work. As an employee-owned company, every woman who works for Gardener’s Supply has an equal chance to become a business owner, and is equally responsible for our company's success. So we, of course, are committed to equal pay.”
- Jim Feinson, Gardener’s Supply Company President and CEO
"Norwich University has been in the business of educating and preparing leaders of character and purpose who build, strengthen and protect our nation and our communities. We hold in high esteem our people and our reputation. We are proud to sign the Vermont Equal Pay Compact."
- Lisa Yaeger, Director of Human Resources, Norwich University
“As the first woman president of Paul Frank + Collins, I couldn’t be happier to sign onto the equal pay initiative. We have long been committed to holding high standards for equalizing pay in our law firm to eliminate the gender gap. As I review the strategies document, I see many areas where we shine, supporting both women and men with flexibility, generous paid leave benefits, and training, mentoring, and support for employees across our organization. We readily signed on to the Vermont Equal Pay Compact and are inspired to support women into executive management positions in the firm, and to further improve our firm’s strategic goals toward equality among a more diverse firm culture.”
- Stephanie J. Mapes, President of Paul Frank + Collins
"Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility is a strong supporter of equal pay for equal work. Equal pay is an equality issue, a human decency issue, and an economic issue — it makes good business sense. We recognize that It is time to level the playing field and we support the Equal Pay Compact.”
- Jane Campbell, Executive Director of Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility
"Equality is the right thing to do. It's also enormously valuable to our business and clients. Providing equal challenges, opportunities and rewards regardless of gender is critical to attracting, retaining and motivating highly talented and skilled people"
- David White, White + Burke Real Estate Investment Advisors, Inc.
"A commitment to equal pay policies makes us more competitive, allowing us to recruit and retain qualified people to government work. This is a process that requires a long term commitment to both creating and maintaining a just compensation system. We are pleased to join in the Compact and work toward our goal of recognizing and rewarding all of our employees."
- City of Winooski Mayor, Seth Leonard
Vermont employers learned more and signed on to the Compact at the Vermont Chamber Business and Industry Expo and Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility's Conference, and the Vermont Development Conference.