Misguided Paycheck Fairness Act Signed by Hassan

CONCORD – Last week, New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan signed Senate Bill 207, otherwise known as the Paycheck Fairness Act, into law.  The bill prevents wage discrimination based on a person’s gender.

According to an article in the Union Leader, the Paycheck Fairness Act “was a priority of Senate Minority Leader Sylvia Larsen, D-Concord, and House Speaker Terie Norelli, D-Portsmouth, both retiring at the end of the session in December.”

In a public statement, Hassan said “I want to thank Senator Larsen, Speaker Norelli and legislators from both parties for coming together to pass the most significant piece of legislation for women in New Hampshire’s workforce in over a decade… Ensuring that women and men can earn equal pay for an equal day’s work isn’t just an issue of fairness, it’s essential to our economic future.”

Hassan failed to mention that it is already illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender. It has been so for over fifty years.  The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA) protects men and women who perform substantially equal work in the same establishment from sex-based wage discrimination.

The New Hampshire Liberty Alliance is a citizen watchdog group that reviews all pending state-level legislation and produces a weekly handout called The Gold Standard to guide state legislators on how to vote in a pro-liberty direction. It had recommended rejecting the Paycheck Fairness Act bill in its April 23rd Gold Standard.

NHLA’s Arguments Against Paycheck Fairness Act

  • This bill adds new regulations onto businesses, making them less competitive with those in other states and burdening them with additional compliance requirements. Further, “Equal Pay” legislation is already in statute, so this is unneeded.
  • New requirements will add more duties to the labor department, setting the stage for future growth.
  • So-called discrimination laws are very difficult to enforce and lead to an increasingly litigious environment.
  • By allowing the commissioner to enforce the laws merely “in response to complaints,” it opens a Pandora’s Box of potential politically motivated retributions in cases where no violation has been proven.

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