Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards released the following statements on the Senate Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations vote to advance both minimum wage and equal pay bills to the floor of the Senate. Both are issues Gov. Edwards has supported since serving as a state legislator and are in line with an overwhelming majority of Louisianans who believe there should be an increase in the state minimum wage and equal pay for equal work in Louisiana.

Equal Pay

“It is about time that Louisiana rid itself of the status of having the largest pay inequality in the country,” said Gov. Edwards. “This is one of the easiest decisions that this committee could have made, as it is something that 90% of people in this state support.  This legislation is important not only because it lifts pay secrecy, but also because it demands equal pay of all state contractors, two steps that will help close the gender pay gap. With this decision, legislators are finally serving the overwhelming demands of their districts.”

The latest study by the LSU Public Policy Research Lab found that 91% of Louisianans support equal pay for equal work.

SB 149 by Sen. J.P. Morrell (D-New Orleans) eliminates pay secrecy by prohibiting employers from taking actions against employees for inquiring about, discussing or disclosing their wages or another employee’s wages. SB 117 by Sen. Morrell extends the Equal Pay for Women Act to cover any business or person who enters into a procurement or services contract with any department, office, division, agency, commission, board, committee, or other organizational unit of the state.

Good Equal Pay Policies Benefit Businesses and Employees

  • Businesses that do not have fair pay practices suffer from lower productivity and the higher costs of employee turnover.
  • Good pay equity policies level the playing field for businesses that want to play fairly.
  • Women make up 51% of the population and almost half the workforce in Louisiana, but live at the second highest poverty rate in the United States.
  • Louisiana women and their families have less financial security and rely more on government help from programs such as Medicaid, housing assistance, and SNAP benefits than women who live in other states.

Minimum Wage

“One of the surest ways to lift thousands of children and families out of poverty is to implement a modest and meaningful increase in the minimum wage,” said Gov. Edwards. “I want to thank Sen. Troy Carter for his bills and the Senate Labor Committee for moving them forward. “There is nothing fair about the current minimum wage of $7.25, and the fact that we have not done anything to improve it ought to be offensive to everyone. There are 18 states that increased the minimum wage this year. There are only five states in the country that have not adopted a minimum wage, and Louisiana is one of those. We can change that this year, and we should because it is the right to do for our people and our state.”

The latest study by the LSU Public Policy Research Lab shows that 76 percent of Louisianans support raising the minimum wage.

SB 162 by Sen. Troy Carter (D-New Orleans) would establish the state minimum wage to $8.00 per hour beginning Jan. 1, 2019 and increases it to $8.50 starting Jan. 1, 2020. SB 252 by Sen. Carter would set the matter on the statewide election ballot to be held on November 6, 2018.


How the current minimum wage impacts Louisiana:

  • 42 percent of Louisiana working families do not earn enough to cover their basic monthly expenses.
  • 33.7 percent of all minimum wage workers in Louisiana remain at that same rate of pay for one year or more. It is often not an entry level wage.
  • Louisiana is one of five states that have not adopted a state minimum wage.
  • The federal minimum wage of $7.25 has not changed since 2009.
  • Not all employees are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act that provides for the minimum wage.