Issued From Governor Shumlin's Office
MONTPELIER - April 14, 2015 – Marking National Equal Pay Day – the date that symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year – Gov. Peter Shumlin and the Vermont Commission on Women today launched the Vermont Equal Pay Compact. The initiative aims to boost wages for Vermont women, improve economic security for women and their families, and make progress towards the overdue right of equal pay for men and women.
The Compact is a voluntary agreement in which employers pledge to take steps to eliminate the wage gap in Vermont that sees women earn only 83 cents for every dollar a man earns, according to the American Association of University Women. At a press conference launching the initiative, the Governor announced that the State of Vermont is the first employer to sign the Compact. Also signing are a number of private businesses, including Main Street Landing, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, the Alchemist, and Red Hen Baking Company. Employers can learn more about the Compact and how to sign at www.women.vermont.gov.
To mark National Equal Pay Day, the Governor also signed a proclamation making today as Equal Pay Day in Vermont. Nationally, women on average are paid only 78 cents for every dollar a man earns, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. “While I'm glad Vermont does better than elsewhere on the pay gap, we need to do more to make equal pay for men and women not just the law but the reality,” Gov. Shumlin said. “When women succeed, Vermont succeeds. I’m hopeful more Vermont employers will make progress on this issue, including by signing this Compact and adding their voices to this effort.”
Modeled after a similar initiative in Boston, the Vermont Equal Pay Compact requires signing employers to commit to at least three concrete steps to help close the wage gap between men and women. Some examples include improving strategies in compensation and promotion, hiring, negotiations, wage transparency, performance evaluation, and workplace culture. A full list of actions can be found at www.women.vermont.gov.
“Closing the wage gap isn’t a job that can be done by government or legislation alone,” said Cary Brown of the Vermont Commission on Women. “Strong workplace practices that bring women into good jobs, ensure they’re not penalized unfairly for caregiving responsibilities, and support their advancement at all levels are key. We’re excited that Vermont has so many employers who recognize that when women do well at work, our whole economy benefits.”
“Main Street Landing is a woman owned and woman run business,” said Melinda Moulton or Main Street Landing. “We have always believed and supported the fairness of equal pay for equal work for women. Using the Vermont Equal Pay Compact as a tool, we plan to educate and speak out to other businesses about the importance of paying women the same as men for the same work. Main Street Landing will be at the podium and in the news continuing to speak out for equal pay for women. Inequality in pay for women is a tragic reality here in Vermont and this troubles us deeply. We will continue to fight to stamp out inequality for women in the workplace on all levels.”
Gov. Shumlin has long supported efforts to eliminate the wage gap and protect the rights of women in the workplace. In 2013, he signed into law legislation that prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who inquire about co-workers’ wages, prevents discrimination against a mother who nurses a child at work, and permits an employee to request a flexible work arrangement and protects against retaliation for making such a request.