MONTANA – Five years after launching the Equal Pay for Equal Work Taskforce, Governor Steve Bullock on National Equal Pay Day renewed his charge to close Montana’s gender wage gap. Bullock unveiled a new Executive Order promoting equal pay while speaking at a Montana business that prioritizes workplace transparency.
“Every single hard-working family in Montana has a stake in ensuring women and men are paid a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work,” Governor Bullock said. “Over the last five years Montana’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Task Force has taken steps to narrow the wage gap, and businesses have stepped up to revise their own workplace policies with equity in mind.”
When the task force started its work in 2013, women were earning 66.7 percent of the median earnings of their male co-workers. Today, that gap has narrowed to 68.3 percent. Each of the 263,000 women who benefited from this change has earned more than they would have if the gap had not closed. In total, closing the gap by this percentage translates to roughly $128 million additional wages in Montana’s economy.
When comparing the earnings of full-time, year-round workers, Montana women earned 72.9 percent of men’s earnings in 2013. Today, that gap has narrowed to 73.6 percent. This progress has happened in-part by the task force leading a grassroots effort to encourage equity at Main Street businesses across Montana.
Bullock recognized Anderson Zurmuehlen, a Montana CPA firm, for its work in developing workplace policies that support families. The company signed Montana’s Equal Pay for Equal Work pledge and has implemented flexible scheduling, updated its maternity/paternity leave policy, and created a transparent process that allows staff to progress into shareholder roles. Sixty-three percent of Anderson Zurmuehlen’s shareholders are women.
Still, legislative efforts to close the wage gap in Montana failed during the 2017 session. Republicans tabled a bill that would have created increased wage transparency.
“More Montanans are in the workforce and wages are rising, we need to make sure they’re rising for men and women,” Bullock said. “Now is the time to put our foot on the gas pedal and accelerate the pace of progress.”
For more information about Governor Bullock’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Task Force, visit www.equalpay.mt.gov.