JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – On Equal Pay Day, Gov. Jay Nixon directed the Missouri Office of Administration (OA) to lead an interagency effort on pay equity and to make recommendations based on best practices guidelines developed by the Women’s Foundation and University of Missouri, which were announced Monday.
“Equal work deserves equal pay, and these guidelines will serve as a valuable resource for current and future policymakers as we work to eliminate pay disparities and ensure all Missourians are compensated fairly,” Gov. Nixon said. “Women make up over half of state employees and an increasing percentage of women are now the primary breadwinners in their families. That’s why pay equity is essential to the overall strength, vitality and competitiveness of our economy. I thank the Women’s Foundation and the University of Missouri for developing these best practices and bringing needed attention to this important issue.”
Gov. Nixon directed Nancy Johnston, Director of Personnel at the Office of Administration to lead the effort, along with human resources managers and agency directors, to review the final best practices guidelines and make recommendations for how to implement them within state agencies.
— Missouri OA (@MissouriOA) April 12, 2016
According to the report released yesterday by the Women’s Foundation and the Harry Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri, women who worked full-time and year-round earned only 77 percent as much as men in 2013. While various factors can contribute to disparities in income, studies which control for different life choices still find that, all things being equal, women are still paid less than men for the same work.
Wendy Doyle, President & CEO of Women’s Foundation, released an appreciative statement regarding the announcement.
“Women’s Foundation applauds Governor Jay Nixon for his leadership on the issue of equal pay for equal work,” Doyle said. “We have appreciated the opportunity to work with his administration as we developed the Pay Equity Best Practices Guidelines with the MU Institute of Public Policy. They are an important tool for closing the gender pay gap, and we look forward to their implementation at the state level in Missouri and adoption in the private sector. Women’s Foundation remains dedicated to closing the gender pay gap once and for all.”
The Pay Equity Best Practice Guidelines seek to improve standards for pay equity and achieve measurable results with three best practices for Missouri employers in both the private and public sectors:
- Employers Should Determine if Gender-Based Pay Disparities Exist
- Reevaluate the Current Pay System from an Equity Perspective
- Promote and Ensure Pay Transparency
A full copy of the report can be downloaded at http://www.womens-foundation.org/equal-pay/.
Federally, Missouri’s Democratic U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill released a statement that she is backing a bill to also endeavor to help close the pay gap, stating one-third of Missouri’s women-led households have income below poverty. Of the 281,000 households in Missouri headed by women, about 31 percent, or 86,206, have incomes that fall below the poverty level—and that burden of wage discrimination weighs heavily on the 928,242 Missouri children that live in households dependent on their mother’s earnings, according to the National Partnership for Women & Families and Joint Economic Committee.
“Equal pay for equal work shouldn’t be a radical notion—it’s a commonsense value that all Missourians can get behind,” McCaskill said. “And I refuse to pass this issue on to my daughters’ generation without a fight. We’ve got to own up to it, that this problem is a bad deal for our families, for our entrepreneurs, and for our economy as a whole.”
McCaskill supports the Paycheck Fairness Act, which hopes to end pay discrimination in the workplace. The Paycheck Fairness Act builds on the Equal Pay Act, passed more than 50 years ago on June 10, 1963. It sets out to help close the pay gap by empowering women to negotiate for equal pay, closing loopholes courts have created in the law, creating strong incentives for employers to obey the laws, and strengthening federal outreach and enforcement efforts. The bill shifts the burden of proof from a woman to her employer, and protects employees from retaliation when they share with each other how much they make.
Rachael Herndon was the editor at The Missouri Times and also produced This Week in Missouri Politics, published Missouri Times Magazine, and co-hosted the #MoLeg podcast. She joined The Missouri Times in 2014, returning to political reporting after working as a campaign and legislative staffer.
Rachael studied at the University of Missouri – Columbia. She lives in Jefferson City with her husband, Brandon, and their two children.