A Missouri Senate committee has voted in favor of creating state-backed guidelines to address gender pay equality. The vote comes following a collaborative discussion between the bill’s sponsor and the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Senate Bill 144 is sponsored by Sen. Paul LeVota, a Democrat from Independence. The bill instructs the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations to establish best practice guidelines for gender pay equality. The voluntary guidelines would help public and private employers move toward equal pay for men and women.
Before the Senate Committee on Small Business, Insurance and Industry voted on the bill, the committee presented a substitute bill with revisions meant to protect employers. The revisions say that the state cannot force businesses to adopt the guidelines without approval from the Missouri General Assembly. They also clarify that the guidelines cannot be used as grounds to sue an employer. The Missouri Chamber requested these changes and Sen. LeVota supported adding them to the bill.
“I wanted to make sure there was clear language and it wasn’t punitive to the employers,” said Sen. LeVota, as the committee considered the revisions to his bill.
The committee then voted 5-1 in support of the proposal, sending it to the Senate floor for further debate.
“The Missouri Chamber supports gender pay equality and I’d like to thank Sen. LeVota for his collaboration on this bill,” said Tracy King, Missouri Chamber vice president of governmental affairs. “The Missouri Chamber will continue to closely watch this proposal to ensure the spirit of the proposal isn’t changed in a way that could place employers at greater risk.”
For more information about this bill, contact King at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 573-634-3511.