St. Louis County Executive signs orders to address pay equity, improve working conditions for women

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PROMOTING PAY EQUITY: Hazel Erby, St. Louis County director of diversity, equity and inclusion, speaks at a June 4 news conference where St. Louis County Executive Sam Page (center) signed an order addressing pay equity in the county. Lisa Picker, executive director of the Women’s Foundation of Greater St. Louis (right) also spoke at the conference. – Annika Merrilees/St. Louis Post-Dispatch photo

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page has signed an executive order that prohibits the county from asking about the salary history of new hires in an effort to promote pay equity for women and minorities.

Surrounded by women, Page signed the order at a June 4 news conference held at his office in Clayton. He said banning the use of pay history in setting pay for new workers would help avoid pay disparities based on gender and race.

“By asking prospective employees their current or past salary, an employer can unintentionally lock an employee into an already-existing pay disparity. And that has to end,” Page said.

Lisa Picker, executive director of the Women’s Foundation of Greater St. Louis, she said she hopes the county’s effort will inspire private employers to do the same.

“We hope that other employers will be inspired by your initiative to take similar action to support working women and families,” Picker said.
Page also created a new task force – headed by Hazel Erby, the county’s director of diversity, equity and inclusion, and Shannon Koenig, senior policy adviser – to investigate how working conditions can be improved for female employees.

The task force will explore new potential policies like paid family leave, employee child care options and raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour.

(Information from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and KMOX-AM)


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