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.