In 1943, Washington was one of the first states in the country to address the disparity between what women and men were paid with the passing of the Equal Pay Act.
This week, Gov. Jay Inslee made history again by signing House Bill 1506, known as the Equal Pay Opportunity Act, into law.
Currently, a white woman working full time in Washington state earns 74.6 cents for every dollar earned by her male co-workers according to the National Women’s Law Center. African American women make 61.1 cents, while Latinas earn only 46.3 cents.
“This bill will help narrow the wage gap,” Inslee said prior to signing the bill. “It is unfortunate we even have to have this debate or legislation that makes it clear that equal pay for equal work is the right thing to do. Thanks to this bill, now it is the law.”
The Equal Pay Opportunity Act updates the state’s equal pay law by prohibiting employers from imposing pay secrecy policies; banning employers from retaliating against employees who file complaints, discuss wages, and seek advancement opportunities; and setting a “similarly employed” standard ensuring jobs that require similar skill and responsibility are performed under similar working conditions.