NC Equal Pay Act faces long odds
Posted April 9, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — A bill that would ban North Carolina employers from paying workers differently based on gender looks unlikely to be heard this session.
Forty-two states have equal pay statutes on their books; North Carolina is one of the eight that don't. The others are South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Utah, New Mexico, Vermont and Wisconsin.
Rep. Deborah Ross, D-Wake, is trying to remedy that with House Bill 603, the Equal Pay Act, filed Tuesday.
Ross noted that April 9 is Equal Pay Day, the point in 2013 to which the average U.S. woman has to work to make up for her pay deficit in 2012 when compared with a man doing the same work.
A recent study found North Carolina women still make only 80 cents for every dollar their male co-workers earn for the same position and same responsibility.
Ross said that, after the recent recession, more women than ever are serving as the primary or sole breadwinners for their households.
"Women don't work as a secondary job the way a lot of people used to think about it," said Ross. "Women are responsible for their families welfare. And we need to make sure that the state of North Carolina supports them."
The bill's prospects are dim after its immediate referral to the House Rules Committee, which is a common way for leaders to dispose of bills without a hearing or debate.
House Speaker Thom Tillis' spokesman, Jordan Shaw, said the proposal could still emerge to be heard.
"There are a lot of bills in Rules, and there are also a lot of bills being introduced this week, given the deadline," Shaw said. "We’ll see what capacity allows for the remainder of session, not only for this bill but for many others."