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Statement from Boston Chamber on Pay Equity Legislation

January 27, 2016

Statement from James E. Rooney, President & CEO, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce

"As the leading business organization for professional women in the Boston region, with the largest women’s network in New England, the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce is proud to be a vocal supporter of the pay equity legislation currently under review in the legislature. Fifty percent of the Greater Boston workforce is made up of women, yet studies show that even in 2016, women are earning significantly less on average than their male counterparts. And wage inequality not only affects businesses, it also has a negative impact on families and the overall Massachusetts economy.

The proposed legislation is a result of thoughtful collaboration between lawmakers and Attorney General Maura Healey’s office. We are especially pleased that the Chamber was able to communicate direct feedback from our members to help inform a final version of the bill that supports both employees and employers by bringing greater guidance to differences in pay while preventing baseless lawsuits and burdensome regulations. The final bill provides helpful and needed clarification to existing state wage equity laws such as clarifying what is "like" or "comparable" work, and lists a number of bona fide factors that can be taken into consideration for wage differentials. Importantly, the legislation does not create any new reporting requirements for employers.

I am grateful for and particularly impressed by the willingness of the attorney general’s office and lawmakers to work collaboratively on this important issue. Thank you to Attorney General Maura Healey, Senator Karen Spilka, Senator Dan Wolf, and Senator Patricia Jehlen for ensuring that women in the Commonwealth are treated equally and paid fairly for their important contributions to our state’s economy while being mindful of the needs of employers."