4/08/14: Poloncarz Observes National Equal Pay Day

Modified: January 23, 2015 2:58pm

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County Executive Renews call to End Pay Discrimination between Genders; Introduces ECIDA Policy Initiative Seeking Equal Pay Rule from Applicants

ERIE COUNTY, NY— Today, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz was joined by Sawrie Becker, Erie County Commissioner of Public Advocacy, CEO of the YWCA of WNY Deborah Lynn Williams, representatives from the American Association of University Women, the Junior League of Buffalo, WNY Women’s Foundation, and the Women’s Business Center at Canisius College to draw attention to the issue of income inequality between genders while calling for businesses applying for tax incentives from the Erie County Industrial Development Agency (“ECIDA”) to agree to end such disparities among their employees. According to the National Partnership for Women and Families, nationwide, women on average are paid seventy-seven cents for every dollar paid to men for similar work, amounting to a yearly wage gap of $11,084 between full-time working men and women. National Equal Pay Day is a date that symbolizes how far into 2014 women must work to earn what men earned in 2013.

“51 years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act, pay between the sexes is still unequal. Equal pay for women is not just long-overdue, it is the law. To ensure our local employers are complying with the law, today I am calling on the Erie County Industrial Development Agency to adopt a policy requiring all applicants for incentives to prove they pay their female employees the same as male employees in similar positions with similar experience. This policy will level the wage playing field for their workers and show that we, as a community, support ending wage discrimination,” said Poloncarz. “In 2014, there is no reason why women in the workplace should not earn as much as their male counterparts. I commend Commissioner Becker and her partners for their ardent advocacy on this issue and urge all employers to follow the law and extend equal pay for equal work to all their employees, regardless of gender.”

Women comprise 52% of Erie County's total population, 48.7% of its labor force, 61% of senior citizens, and 54% of the county’s registered voters. In Erie County, median weekly earnings for a woman working full-time are $638.00, while a man doing similar work earns $798.00. Employers seeking guidance in instituting pay equity in their own companies can access the National Committee on Pay Equity’s Self-Audit, which provides a ten-step guide for evaluating current organizational pay policy and implementing equity-inducing changes where necessary.

Commissioner of Public Advocacy Sawrie Becker added, “The Erie County Commission on the Status of Women (“ECCSW”) exists to work toward gender equity in our society. We will be closer to this goal when women are paid equally and fairly with men.  The ECCSW is encouraged that the County Executive recognizes the tremendous impact of pay disparity on women’s lives and that he is taking action with this policy initiative.  We look forward to working with the administration to ensure the initiative’s success.”

"Equal pay for equal work is a simple concept yet so inexcusably hard to achieve. With women earning on average 77cents to the dollar of a man in the same job, with the disparity even higher in minority women, our nation must acknowledge that we have a lot of work still to do,” added YWCA of WNY CEO Deborah Lynn Williams. “Pay Equity isn’t about special treatment, or quotas, it is very simple – equal pay for equal work. We must do better and the County Executive’s initiatives on this front are a step in the right direction for the women in Erie County.”

YWCA of WNY, Inc. is a 501 (c) (3) Non-Profit Organization that has been in existence for 143 years. The YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.  The YWCA offers housing for seniors and transitional housing for homeless women and children and victims of domestic violence. Day care, and before/after school programming are offered for infants thru school age. Education and job training for teens are also available. Website:  www.ywca-wny.org  or find us on Facebook.