Following the Montana Paycheck Transparency Act which had its first committee hearing yesterday, Governor Steve Bullock today hosted a roundtable at Montana State University in Bozeman with Montana businesses, students, legislators, and community leaders to share solutions and ideas to close the gender wage gap.
“Montana does better when Montana families earn more,” said Governor Bullock at the roundtable. “I want to be doing everything I can to make sure that all Montanans are paid a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work.”
Governor Bullock’s Montana Paycheck Transparency Act (Senate Bill 217), sponsored by Senator Diane Sands, prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who disclose their own wage, salary, and benefit information.
“The issue of paycheck equity is a very serious matter for all Montana families,” Senator Sands said of the legislation. “There are a lot of structural problems that contribute to the fact that women continue – in every single field – to earn, on the average, less than their male counterpart. This bill seeks to address one of those problems around paycheck transparency.”
The Montana Paycheck Transparency Act addresses gender wage inequity by opening the door for greater wage transparency and allowing for employees to be free to discuss compensation without fear of retaliation. Paycheck transparency promotes free speech and gives all workers increased opportunities to negotiate an appropriate starting salary, breaks down barriers, and increases the likelihood for women to negotiate future earnings.
In 2013, Governor Bullock established the Equal Pay for Equal Work Task Force to identify causes of the gender pay gap in Montana and mobilize solutions. The Montana Paycheck Transparency Act comes at the recommendation of the Equal Pay for Equal Work Task Force.