Thursday, April 10, 2008

More Pay Equity in Minnesota


• Women still earn less than men. Both in Minnesota and the U.S., women still earn on average only about three-fourths of average earnings for men. This is true despite passage of the federal Equal Pay Act in 1972.

• Minnesota has 2 successful pay equity laws on the books. Minnesota passed unique pay equity laws in 1982 (for state government employees) and 1984 (for local government employees). These laws have worked very well and arestill being enforced today. Results:• About 20,000 women work in state government. Their overall average pay is up to 97% of average pay for men in state government – up from 72% when the law was passed.

• But 89% of Minnesota women work in the private and non-profit sectors, so the state pay equity laws have not helped them.

• The State of Minnesota contracts with over 1,800 private and non-profit firms for billions of dollars each year. To be eligible for state contracts, these companies are already required to submit affirmative action plans to the state Department of Human Rights (DHR). DHR reviews theseplans and certifies approved companies to the Department of Administration.

• The “Pay Equity for Contractors” bill requires companies wishing to contract with the state to submit pay equity plans to the Department of Human Rights, in addition to the affirmative action plans already required, to be eligible as contractors.

• The law would apply to contracts for more than $100,000 and companies with more than 40 employees in Minnesota.

• Private employers can use free job evaluation tools and job analysis software from the Department of Employee relations.

• The bill uses the same standard for pay equity already incorporated in the public employers’ law and rules.

• Human Rights can certify employers making a good faith effort.

• Data submitted by non-public potential contractors will be private.

• The bill increases the certification fee by $75 per contractor, to provide resources for administering the plan reviews.

• This bill puts employers in the driver seat in terms of identifying and addressing pay inequities. It goes beyond the“one woman at a time” approach to addressing pay inequities as is the case today in the private sector.

For more information: --- Patty Tanji, President, Pay Equity Coalition, or 651/271-1462.

Equal Pay Day

Equal Pay Day is an annual event hosted in many communities around Minnesota and the United States, noting that it takes women about 15 months to earn as much money as men earn in 12 months – so creative events such as "unhappy hours" occur in mid-April. Tuesday, April 22, 2008, has been designated National Equal Pay Day. As we get closer to the date, please stay tuned for a list of Equal Pay Day activities in Minnesota, by visiting the website of one of the major sponsors, Business and Professional Women of Minnesota,

Pay Equity in Minnesota


Mission: To eliminate the wage gap between women and men employed full timein Minnesota's paid labor force. We do this by educating the public about unfair gender based pay inequities and advocating for social change.

About the Pay Equity Coalition:

The Pay Equity Coalition of Minnesota is an unincorporated network of organizations and individuals. The group came together initially to support the State Government Pay Equity Act of 1982 (M.S. 43A) and Local Government Pay Equity Act of 1984 (M.S. 471.991 – 471.999). Both of these laws are unique in the nation, and both continue to be monitored and enforced. The result is most visible in state government employment, where average earnings for female employees has increased from 72% of earnings for male employees in 1982 to 97% of earnings for male employees in 2006.

Contact Us:

To join the Pay Equity Coalition and receive email notices of current activity, write President Patty Tanji,

Our mailing address for donations and other business is c/o Minnesota Women’s Consortium, 550 Rice Street, St. Paul 55103.

National Pay Equity Activity

The Paycheck Fairness Act has recently (spring 2007) been re-introduced in Congress. For more information about this and other national and international pay equity initiatives, go to


The Office on the Economic Status of Women in the Minnesota Legislature has a report on pay equity on its website,

The Pay Equity Coalition is a member organization of the Minnesota Women’s Consortium. Many other member groups, including the Association of University Women, Business and Professional Women, League of Women Voters, and others have been long-time supporters of pay equity. Visit the Consortium website,, for contact information for these and other groups committed to economic equality for women.

The Minnesota Department of Employee Relations Pay Equity Unit offers technical assistance, instructions for job evaluation, pay analysis, completing pay equity reports, a free Job Match evaluation system, and free computer software for pay or Pay Equity Coordinator Faith Zwemke,, or 651/259-3761.

Earn More, Move Up: A New Look at the Gender Pay Differential (edited by Jennifer Keil, Ph.D.) was published in March 2007 by the Center for Economic Progress. Cost of the book is $15. To order, visit the CEP website,

During the 2007 Minnesota State Legislative session the Pay Equity Coalition of Minnesota mobilized to the pass the "Pay Equity for State Contractors Bill". Below you will find Facts and Frequently Asked Questions regarding this bill.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Helping Women Achieve Financial Security

How can I improve my pay, working conditions and benefits like flextime and health insurance?

Collective bargaining(union) resources:

Education Minnesota
Statewide organization for teachers and related professions.

Minneapolis Federation of Teachers
Agent for teachers of Minneapolis Special School District #1.

Minnesota Nurses Association
Represents nurses and nursing assistants in 13 districts statewide.

Service Employees International Union
Statewide and local representation for hotel, restaurant, and other service workers.

Third District Nurses
A grassroots arm of MN Nurses Association. Professional development opportunities and other needs of all registered nurses within Anoka, Carver, Hennepin and Scott counties of Minnesota.

What can I do if I think I’m being discriminated against?

American Association of University Women
AAUW is the largest funder of sex discrimination lawsuits in the world. There are 37 AAUW branches in Minnesota.

Les Soeurs
Support and information specific to discrimination in employment. Statewide.

Pay Equity Coalition of Minnesota
Information on enforcement of the State Government Pay Equity Act of 1982 and the Local Government Pay Equity Act of 1984. Statewide.

Workplace Justice
General information on workplace rights and responsibilities, support group, and problem-solving for workplace difficulties such as discrimination, harassment, and other forms of abuse. Twin Cities metro area.

Educate Yourself

1. Check out to determine if you are being paid unfairly.

2. Read Getting Even by Evelyn Murphy and start a wage club.

3. See if your salary is near the median range for your occupation at

Workplace Justice meets on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month (10am-12pm 550 Rice St, Saint Paul). Share your pay discrimination stories with other women in this self-help support group. Your anonymity will be guaranteed. Call 952-996-9291 for more info.

Risk taking, communication skills, women's labor market choices, Minnesota's pay equity laws and how people played together when they were young are all topics discussed in the book "Earn More, Move Up". Request your copy at

Ways You Can Help Close the Wage Gap

1. Send donations to the Pay Equity Coalition to:
550 Rise St., Saint Paul, MN 55103

2. The coalition is looking for a private sector business to act as the subject of a pay equity analysis. The purpose of the study is to determine if the effectiveness of the pay equity tools used by MN public sector employees is transferable to private sector businesses. The identity of the business participating in the study will be anonymous. Please send any business subject suggestions to

3. Ask candidates in your area if they are familiar with the wage gap between men and women? Do they support legislation, such as Minnesota's Local Government Pay Equity Act to ensure women are paid fairly?

4. Check out the Fair Pay Act , The Paycheck Fairness Act, the Fair Pay Restoration Act and make sure your elected officials in Washington support them.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Share Your Thoughts on Pay Equity

How has pay equity affected you?

Are you paid less for the work you do because it's 'women's work'?

Have the MN laws on pay equity been helpful to you and your family?

Please share your stories about pay equity with us. Tell us whether pay equity makes a difference in your life. We are working to eliminate the 'gender gap' in earnings and want to stay connected to real people in real jobs.

Pay Equity Quiz

1. In 1963, when the Equal Pay Act was passed, women made ___¢ on the dollar compared to men.
a. 59¢ b. 63¢ c. 74¢ d. 81¢

2. Today that figure is ___¢ on the dollar compared to men.
a. 85¢ b. 91¢ c. 72¢ d. 77¢

3. Black women earn ___¢ on the dollar compared to white men.
a. 65¢ b. 72¢ c. 85¢ d. 87¢

4. Hispanic women earn ___¢ on the dollar compared to white men.
a. 59¢ b. 52¢ c. 72¢ d. 82¢

5. Over a lifetime, how much less will women earn than men?
a. $550,000 b. $700,000 c. $1,200,000 d. $2,000,000

6. Under the Equal Pay Act, employers cannot pay women and minorities less than white men with the same qualifications for doing the same job.True False

7. Under the Equal Pay Act, plaintiffs are entitled to compensatory and punitive damages if their employer has violated the law.
True False

8. Women make up __% of the American labor force today.
a. 38% b. 42% c. 44.5% d. 46%


5.b, c, and d are all correct, for women with high school, college, and professional postgraduate degrees respectively, according to Evelyn Murphy, economist and founder and president of The WAGE Project.

6. False. The Equal Pay Act mandates that employers cannot pay workers less based on sex. It does not address racial discrimination. Race discrimination cases have been brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which has a much tougher burden of proof.

7. False. Under the Equal Pay Act, awards are limited to two years prior to filing the complaint in court or three years if there is a finding that the act of the employer was willful. A plaintiff may also be awarded liquidated damages, which can double her back pay award, but she still may not recover all of the money she's lost over the entire period of years she's been underpaid.

8. d

Developed by the National Committee on Pay Equity.
Note: Wage gap statistics provided in questions 1-4 are derived from the median annual earnings information for year-round, full-time workers as published by the Census Bureau for the year 2005 (the latest year for which Census wage data is available).

Pay Equity Q&A

Q: What is pay equity?

A: Pay equity is a means of eliminating sex and race discrimination in the wage-setting system. Many women and people of color are still segregated into a small number of jobs such as clerical, service workers, nurses and teachers. These jobs have historically been undervalued and continue to be underpaid to a large extent because of the gender and race of the people who hold them. Pay equity means that the criteria employers use to set wages must be sex- and race-neutral.

Q: How large is the wage gap?

A: 2005 Median Annual Earnings of Year-Round, Full-Time Workers

All Men All Women
$41,386 (100%) $31,858 (77%)

Men Women

White $41,982 White $32,173
Black $33,077 Black $29,672
Asian $48,069 Asian $36,092
Hispanic $26,769 Hispanic $24,214
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2006 Annual Social and Economic Supplement, Series PINC-05

Q: Hasn't the wage gap closed considerably in recent years?

A: The wage gap has narrowed by about 15 percentage points during the last 23 years, ranging from 62 percent in 1982 to 77 percent in 2005. Since 1973, however, approximately 60 percent of the change in the wage gap is due to the fall in men's real earnings and only about 40 percent to the increase in women's wages. At this rate of change, the Institute for Women's Policy Research estimates that it will take until 2057 to close the wage gap.

Q: What is the status of efforts to achieve pay equity?

A: Pay equity is a growing national movement building on the progress made in the 1980s, when twenty states made some adjustments of payrolls to correct for sex or race bias. (Seven of these states successfully completed full implementation of a pay equity plan. Twenty-four states including Washington, DC conducted studies to determine if sex was a wage determinant. Four states examined their compensation systems to correct race bias, as well.)

In the last few years, pay equity bills have been introduced in more than 25 legislatures. On the federal level, the Fair Pay Act has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Delegate Eleanor Holmes-Norton, and in the U.S. Senate by Senator Tom Harkin. The Fair Pay Act would expand the Equal Pay Act's protections against wage discrimination to workers in equivalent jobs with similar skills and responsibilities, even if the jobs are not identical. In addition, the Paycheck Fairness Act has been introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Hillary Clinton and in the U.S. House by Representative Rosa DeLauro. The Paycheck Fairness Act would amend the Equal Pay Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to provide more effective remedies to workers who are not being paid equal wages for doing equal work.