Mississippi set to become end state with equal pay law | Alabama News

By EMILY WAGSTER PETTUS, Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Mississippi will become the final state with a law requiring equal pay for equal work by women and men.

Republican Gov. Tate Reeves signed House Bill 770 into law on Wednesday, and it will become law on July 1.

A 1963 federal law requires equal pay for equal work, but Mississippi is the only state without its own law since Alabama enacted one in 2019.

Mississippi law says a lawsuit must be filed within two years of when a worker “knew or should have known” of the pay discrepancies.

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If the pay discrimination lawsuit is successful, the employer should raise the wages of the lowest-paid worker rather than cut the highest-paid worker, said Angela Cockerham, chair of the House A Judiciary Committee, a Magnolia independent who has lobbied for legislation. .

The law states that companies with five or more employees must pay equal wages to women and men who hold full-time jobs that require “equal skill, education, effort and responsibility” and that are performed “in similar working conditions”.

Several exceptions are allowed, including seniority, merit, quantity or quality of production, and “any factor other than gender,” including salary history and whether there has been competition to hire an employee.

Cassandra Welchlin, leader of the Mississippi Black Women’s Roundtable, advocates for equal pay but said the new law is ‘harmful’ because it would allow an employer to pay a woman less than a man in office the earnings history that workers bring into new jobs.

A 2017 report from the Mississippi University Research Center showed that women earned 27% less than men for full-time work in Mississippi, compared to a 19% pay gap nationally. The study indicated that some of the gap could be explained by the types of jobs that women and men held, but the unexplained wage gap remained at about 18% in Mississippi and about 15% nationwide.

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