Anti wage secrecy, other workplace bills signed
After narrowly passing both chambers, Gov. Jack Markell (D) signed a slate of five workplace reform bills mostly focusing on women.
One outlaws company policies that prevent employees from talking about their wages, while others prohibit discrimination based on someone’s reproductive choices or family care obligations.
Lilly Ledbetter, a national activist who was paid substantially less than her male counterparts at Goodyear Tire and later lost a Supreme Court case because she didn’t file a complain in time, applauded the legislation.
“I hear stories every day where women are still discriminated against in their pay and benefits and this hurts the economy of this country, your community and the nation as a whole,” Ledbetter said.
Rep. Helene Keeley (D-Wilmington South), who sponsored the wage transparency bill, says her father gave her two pieces of advice: “buy good paint and never rely on a man.”
“[The bill is] allowing other women who may not have had a father figure that gave [her] that advice that will allow them to stand on their own two feet and question whether they’re being paid the right amount,” Keeley said.
This most recent round of bills - combined with seven others signed last year - brings the total of bills focused on women’s issues passed during the current General Assembly to 12.
Some of the more ambitious proposals, like paid family leave for state employees or requiring mandatory reporting of sexual assaults on college campuses were either sidelined or amended.