Pay-equity bill moves to CT Senate

BY Joe Cooper

The state House of Representatives overwhelming embraced a bipartisan pay-equity bill that prevents employers from inquiring about a prospective candidate's salary history.

State lawmakers approved House bill 5386 by a vote of 142-4, which aims to ban employers from seeking pay history until an offer of employment with compensation has been offered. Four Republicans opposed the legislation that now moves to the Senate.

If it passes in both, the measure still would require the governor's signature to become law.

Thursday's vote supporting pay equity comes days after the Appropriations Committee narrowly approved legislation that would raise Connecticut's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2021.

House Bill 5388 would increase the minimum wage from $10.10 to $15 over the next three years. It would also tie future minimum wage hikes to the rate of inflation.

Under the bill, the state's minimum wage would spike from $10.10 to $12 on Jan. 1, 2019; from $12 to $13.50 on Jan. 1, 2020; and from $13.50 to $15 on Jan. 1, 2021.

Despite Thursday's passage, the House also favored similar legislation in 2017, voting 139-9, before the measure died without a vote.

Still, advocates for the pay equity bill are optimistic this legislative season, as prohibiting employers from depending on pay history would help inequalities among women and people of color.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who proposed a similar bill this year, commended legislatures for backing an issue that promotes economic fairness.

"People deserve equal pay for equal work – it's that simple," Malloy said, adding that its final passage would provide a "substantive step toward pay equity" in Connecticut.