House Acts to Strengthen Equal Pay Act

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois House of Representatives acted today to follow State Senate approval of a measure strengthening the state’s commitment to ensuring equal pay for women in the workplace; expanding the Illinois Equal Pay Act of 2003 to cover all employers and creating a two-tiered civil penalty system for violations:

The legislation, House Bill 3619, provides that an employer with fewer than 4 employees that violates the Act is subject to penalties of:
·         $500 for a first offense,
·         $2,500 for a second offense, and
·         $5,000 for a third or subsequent offense

The bill further provides that an employer with 4 or more employees is subject to penalties of:
·         $2,500 for a first offense,
·         $3,000 for a second offense, and
·         $5,000 for a third or subsequent offense.

“There is no question, together on a bipartisan basis we stand for the principle of equal pay for equal work,” said State Rep. Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale) a co-sponsor the measure. “As the daughter and granddaughter of pioneering businesswomen, I am pleased to honor the legacy of all women trailblazers by supporting this bill. Illinois law is now clear and ensures pay equity for hardworking women in every industry across Illinois.”

Bellock is the first woman in state history to serve as Deputy Minority Leader in the Illinois House of Representatives. She played a leading role in passing the original Equal Pay Act of 2003, which prohibits employers with four or more employees from paying unequal wages to men and women for doing the same or substantially similar work, requiring equal skill, effort, and responsibility, under similar working conditions. Today’s House passage of HB 3619 extends those provisions to all employers.

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