More than a decade has passed since lawmakers enacted the Vermont Equal Pay Act. But women in the workplace continue to earn less than their male counterparts. And the Legislature this year will again look for ways to bridge the wage gap between genders.
According to U.S. Census data from 2010, women in Vermont make only 84 cents for every dollar earned by men.
Vermont Law School professor Cheryl Hanna is an expert in gender equity issues. She told lawmakers last week that many women either aren’t aware of their rights in the workplace, or fear reprisal from employers if they try to assert them.
Representative Jill Krowinski says a bill she introduced would create new protections for women who report wage discrimination, and would prohibit employers from retaliating against them.
The legislation would also prevent businesses from retaliating against women who ask for flex time, and require employers to give serious consideration to those requests.
And Krowinski says the bill set up a committee to study whether a paid parental leave system funded by a payroll tax should be adopted.