AAUW Policy Guide to Equal Pay in the States

The gender pay gap exists in almost every congressional district according to the most recent statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau. Passing a federal law, like the Paycheck Fairness Act or the Fair Pay Act, would help protect everyone in all states. But until that happens, each state will continue operating under antiquated regulations and piecemeal state and local laws to combat unequal pay.

How do your state and district’s equal pay protections stack up? Below you’ll find your state pay gap number, the congressional district pay gap numbers, rankings of the state’s congressional districts from narrowest to widest gap, and a road map to pay equity that includes needed state and federal actions. Download the facts for your state by clicking on your state’s name in the left-hand column of the chart below (or here for Puerto Rico). Then bring the facts to your community and elected representatives to push for stronger equal pay protections.

Equal Pay Laws by State

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Equal pay or employment discrimination law
All or most employees covered
No retaliation/discrimination for involvement
in legal proceedings
No discrimination/retaliation for
discussing wages
State contractors must comply with
nondiscrimination laws
Can’t reduce another employee’s
pay to comply with law
Pay discrimination hotline
No salary history required
Employment listings must include salary range
Can’t provide less favorable career
opportunities or tracking based on sex
Clarified employer defenses for pay differences
Consider alternative employment
practices that avoid pay disparity
Agreement to a lesser wage is not a defense
Employer liable for damages
Allow for a class action lawsuit
or claims to be joined
Employer liable for costs and
reasonable attorney’s fees
Additional penalties for multiple violations
Employers must keep records of wages
State education programs on pay disparity
State collects and publishes data
on pay gap from all employers
State advisory committee on pay equity
Comparable worth law
Guidelines for designating jobs as dominated
by one sex, race, or national origin
Protections Defenses Remedies Preemptive Action Comparable Worth
49 41 41 19 4 25 3 4 0 2 8 4 21 36 17 34 8 13 1 5 8 5 4
AK
AL
AR *
AZ
CA
CO
CT
DC
DE +
FL F
GA
HI
IA
ID
IL
IN F
KS F
KY F
LA ^
MA
MD
ME
MI
MN
MO
MS
MT
NC
ND
NE
NH *
NJ
NM
NV
NY
OH
OK
OR
PA F
RI *
SC
SD
TN F
TX
UT
VA F
VT
WA
WI
WV F
WY
Law enacted No law enacted
State with no
equal pay protections
State with poor
equal pay protections
State with moderate
equal pay protections
State with strong
equal pay protections
* Doesn’t include domestic workers Exceptions for small businesses + Only covers private employers
^ Only covers public employers F No coverage if federal FLSA law applies

 

Take Action

  • Download your state road map by clicking on your state’s abbreviated name in the chart above. (We have one for Puerto Rico, too!) Even members of Congress who support equal pay legislation can do more.
  • Use your state road map as a springboard to write a letter to the editoror an op-ed calling for your members of Congress to take action on the pay gap.
  • Become an AAUW Two-Minute Activist and tell your elected officials to support the ongoing fight for fair pay.

Here are examples of several state’s network of laws to address the gender pay gap.

Some states have more laws, some less, and two states — Alabama and Mississippi — have no equal pay laws at all. But regardless of a state’s legal framework, it is a daunting task for women to secure their basic legal right to fair pay. No matter where your state falls along the spectrum of equal pay laws, the bottom line is this: All 50 states can make improvements so that fair pay is an accessible reality for everyone.


For more information, contact AAUW State Policy Analyst Kate Nielson or Political Media Manager Amy Becker.


Related

The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap

Learn about the pay gap in the United States, how it affects all women, and what you can do to close it.

The Gender Pay Gap by State: An Interactive Map

How does your state’s gender pay gap stack up? Get a personalized press release and graphic for your state.

AAUW staff and interns rally on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC for equal pay on Equal Pay Day (2017).

States Notch Equal Pay Victories in 2017

Voters are fed up with the persistent gender pay gap, and many state legislators are listening.