Never let it be said that Governor Rod Blagojevich or the Democrats in control of the General Assembly know how to do a comparison of costs and benefits.
Especially if the primary goal of a bill’s passage is a headline.
The feminists wanted a state equal pay for equal work law and the Democrats responded with Senate Bill 2, sponsored by Senator Carol Ronen.
”Women doing the same work as men should be paid the same wages,” the Governor says piously in an April 25th press release.
Find someone who disagrees with that axiom.
The law has now been in effect for over two years. Before its existence the Illinois Human Rights Department and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission handled such complaints.
But, the proponents argued, these didn’t cover small employers. Democrats contend that the new state law covers an additional 330,000 workers.
There were 2,250 calls to the toll-free line (1-866-EPA-IDOL). The high number of inquiries is probably the result of the politically motivated placard mandated posted in all businesses. It says,
IN ILLINOIS, WOMEN EARN 71 CENTS FOR EVERY $1 A MAN EARNS.If I were a woman, I’d probably have called, too.
No matter that the statistic is an argument for “comparable worth,” not equal pay for equal work. (See this article for a dissection of this invalid comparison.)
7.5% of the 2,250 calls resulted in
nearly 170 cases, prompted settlements between employees and employers as a result of strict enforcement, and recovered close to $7,300 in back wages under the Act.Read that back wage recovery figure again:
$7,300. No, it’s “close to $7,300.”But, to be fair, the figure is really probably higher than that. If I add up all the numbers in the press release, I can get to $41,828, including wages and fines sought in court. (The press release actually uses the most conservative estimate of benefits for the program--$7,300.)
That’s the tangible benefit side of the cost-benefit equation that the Democrats will ignore by keeping this law on the books.
The cost side?
Prior to passage the Labor Department estimated that it would cost $325,000, but, apparently, only one employee, Nancy Hernandez, was hired. She “devotes 100% of her time to handle cases and conduct investigations,” according to Public Information Officer Anjali Nayyar-Julka.
Hernandez gets paid $43,104 per year, the State Comptroller says. (The Labor Department refused to provide the salary information.) Fringe benefits are $13,800 for health insurance, $4,134 for pension and $3,297 for the state’s share of Social Security. So, the one enforcement employee costs taxpayers $63,335.
An entirely new division was created:
the Equal Opportunity Workforce Division, which also administers theIt looks like it is $47,000 per year or less, because the rest of the division’s money goes to help displaced homemakers.· Equal Pay Act, it oversees the Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act, which allows victims of sexual assault to take up to 12 weeks off without pay and
· Displaced Homemakers Program, which provide participants with education, training and employment services through a $621,300 grant program.
The cost for the two years it has been in operation?
Certainly over $100,000, considering the approximate $20,000 in fringe benefit costs each year.
Did the law do some good?
It appears so.
Did it do enough good to merit staying on the books?
Compare my liberal benefit estimate of $41,828 for the two years or so about which the press release talks with a cost of something under two times the $63,335 for the salary of the one enforcement employee.
What do you think?
Read about the beneficiaries of the Equal Pay Act in a June 8th article at McHenryCountyBlog.com