Enforce equal pay

Minnesota’s pay equity act is not an unnecessary mandate.

Daily Editorial Board

In a local government bill currently before the Minnesota House, Republicans have included a provision that would repeal the 1984 Local Government Pay Equity Act. A bill which would repeal the law has also been introduced in the Senate.

The pay equity act requires local government entities, such as cities and school districts, to report to the state on pay equity for employees. As long as demonstrated pay inequity between genders continues, the law should stay on the books.

The line of reasoning Republicans are using to support the bill is that the requirement is an “unnecessary mandate” and out of date.

Local governments may find compliance with the law a burden, but it is by no means out of date.

According to the WomenâÄôs Foundation of Minnesota and the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, women in Minnesota still earn less overall than men. White women earned 76 cents for every dollar men earn. For minority women, the gap is even greater.

The review and enforcement of pay equality is crucial to narrowing the pay gap.

Restitution payments top $1.2 million to 1,300 underpaid women since the pay equity act took effect.

State legislators should not repeal the pay equity act. A law that has helped more than a thousand Minnesotan women prove that they had been paid less than their male counterparts is not an unnecessary government mandate.

Legislators should look elsewhere for unnecessary mandates, as pay equality remains an important tool for ending gender discrimination in the workplace.