Women’s Economic Security Act omnibus bill advances

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Kim Borton of the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota (left) testifies alongside Sen. Pappas and Debra Fitzpatrick of the Center on Women & Public Policy-Humphrey School, University of Minnesota.

Several state senators saw legislation advance as the Women’s Economic Security Act omnibus bill passed the Environment, Economic Development and Agriculture Division Committee on Monday. S.F. 2050 is a collection of bills advocating for equal opportunities and pay for women, who comprise half of the state’s workforce.

Senator Sandy Pappas (DFL-St. Paul) championed the omnibus bill, which seeks various policy changes that include: requiring businesses contracting with the state to develop a pay equity study; protecting women from workplace discrimination and domestic violence; encouraging women to enter nontraditional and high-wage jobs; and enhancing retirement security by considering a state retirement savings plan for those without an employer-provided option.

“While strides have been made in providing equal opportunities and pay for women in Minnesota’s workforce, the fact remains that disparities still exist,” said Sen. Pappas. “Women are paid 80 cents for every dollar a man makes, which is unacceptable. The Women’s Economic Security Act will reform these inconsistencies, which should not exist in the first place.”

Sen. Pappas authored two pieces of legislation in the omnibus bill, which address the gender pay gap and the enhancement of retirement security. S.F. 1806 requires businesses with more than 40 employees seeking state contracts over $500,000 to ensure state compliance with existing equal pay laws. S.F. 2078 requires a report from the commissioner of management and budget on the establishment of a state-administered retirement savings plan.

“The Women’s Economic Security Act is a huge step forward for all Minnesotans,” Sen. Pappas said following the bill’s passage. “We live in a progressive state and it is essential that all people contributing to our workforce are treated and compensated equally.”

For more information, visit http://www.senate.mn/. Sen. Pappas welcomes your suggestions, questions, and concerns at sen.sandy.pappas@senate.mn.