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Proposed bill focuses on equal pay in Alabama

According to the bill, an employer can justify pay differences based on merit, seniority and the quality or quantity of work.

Posted: Apr 3, 2019 6:53 PM
Updated: Apr 3, 2019 7:09 PM

Alabama women make 73 cents for every dollar a man makes, according to the American Association of University Women.

Right now, Alabama is one of only two states without any state equal pay legislation, but a bill making its way through the state legislature aims to change that.

The representative sponsoring the bill said she's cautiously optimistic it'll pass. On Wednesday, WAAY 31 was in Marshall County finding out what this could mean for employers and employees in the state. People we spoke to said this legislation is needed.

Kim Holmes has owned her two businesses in Arab and Guntersville for more than 30 years. She said it's about time Alabama joined the other 48 states that already have equal pay legislation, but it doesn't surprise her it hasn't happened yet.

"I'm glad the bill was introduced. I feel like it's necessary, and I'm glad Alabama has jumped on board," Holmes said. "We're always lagging behind for some reason."

Representative Adline Clarke, a democrat out of Mobile, is sponsoring the bill. She said it's received bipartisan support.

"It saddens me that Alabama is one of the two. Mississippi is the other," Clarke said. "I'm proud that the vast majority of women on both sides of the aisle that have signed on as co-sponsors of this bill, in addition to men on both sides of the aisle."

The bill requires employers to keep payroll records for 3 years, provides protection to employees who discuss what they make and allows employees to bring civil action against their employer if they are retaliated against for asking their employer for fair pay.

Holmes says all her employees are paid fairly, and she hopes this bill will have a positive impact statewide.

"Hopefully, this legislation will entice employers to be a little more fair," she said.

According to the bill, an employer can justify pay differences based on merit, seniority and the quality or quantity of work.

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