MONTANA – Governor Steve Bullock kicked off a five-city tour across the state today to highlight new actions taken to advance equal pay in Montana to support hard-working Montanans, their families and grow the economy. The actions include an Executive Order incentivizing best equal pay practices for businesses that do business with the State, an Equal Pay Hotline, and a statewide “Equal Pay MT” sticker and pledge campaign to raise community awareness about equal pay.
“Narrowing the wage gap for Montana women not only boosts their earning potential, it strengthens Montana working families and opens up opportunities for a new generation of women in the workforce,” said Governor Bullock. “Montanans believe in a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, and these initiatives give us more tools to ensure we are doing everything we can to close the wage gap across the state.”
The Executive Order incentivizes businesses that contract with the state to engage in best practices regarding equal pay issues, including encouraging contractors to post salary ranges in employment listings and discouraging contractors from talking about wage history in employee interviews or retaliating against employees who discuss or disclose their wages in the workplace.
This is one of several “Lead by Example” efforts by Governor Bullock and his administration. Others include “Recruit Your Way to Success” online hiring guidance and tips, and a “Self-Audit Pay Primer” for businesses (available at www.equalpay.mt.gov).
The Equal Pay Hotline, 1-844-550-FAIR, will be staffed by the Montana Human Right Bureau through the Department of Labor & Industry, which among other discrimination issues, provides intake and addresses complaints regarding equal pay, sexual harassment or discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and marital or pregnancy status.
Governor Bullock and Lt. Governor Mike Cooney are being joined by members of the Montana Equal Pay Task Force at businesses across the state that have taken the pledge and will display the sticker in their shop windows. These business leaders are calling on other businesses and organizations to join them in working together to close the pay gap. Events are being held at Headframe Spirits in Butte, Hub Coffee in Helena, Banik Communications in Great Falls, First Interstate Bank in Missoula, and City Brew Coffee in Billings. More than 50 Montana businesses, organizations and individuals have already pledged.
Since its inception via Governor Bullock’s 2013 Executive Order, the Equal Pay for Equal Work Task Force has taken a multi-pronged approach to closing the wage gap, which includes legislation, wage negotiation trainings of hundreds across the state, educational and networking Summits, and research and advocacy targeted at closing the wage gap in Montana.
For more information on the Equal Pay Task Force or the initiatives go to www.equalpaymt.gov