Governor John Bel Edwards tells legislators on the opening day of the session that it’s unacceptable for Louisiana to continue to have the largest gender pay gap in the country. Edwards is asking lawmakers to pass a pay transparency bill that would prevent anyone from losing their job for discussing their salaries

“No one should be fired for that.  Together we can change this and studies show that when there is more transparency, there is also more equity,” said Edwards.

Since Edwards became governor in 2016, he’s pushed to raise the minimum wage, but he has not been successful. Edwards says this year he’s supporting New Orleans Senator Troy Carter’s legislation

“So I’m recommending a gradual increase in the minimum wage that will begin with $9 an hour on January 1, 2021, and that will move to $10 an hour six months later in July,” said Edwards.

National Federation of Independent Business state director Dawn Starns says it’s disappointing and frustrating to hear Governor Edwards double down on pressing forward with minimum wage increases and equal pay legislation.  Starns says the Governor’s attempt to fulfill a campaign promise will only result in lost jobs.

“We’ve done the research and over 30,000 jobs would be lost in Louisiana as the result of increasing minimum wage over the next ten years,” said Starns.

Starns says the pay gap between men and women is closing on its own and with a non-business friendly lawsuit climate, there is no need to create another reason for an employer to get sued.

“Creating a new opportunity for an employee to be sued cause they ask about salary history or that kind of thing creates that negative, hostile work environment is just not the right way for our state,” said Starns.