Governor Mills Proclaims March 14 National Equal Pay Day in Maine Bookmark and Share

March 14, 2023

For Immediate Release: March 14, 2023

Governor Mills Proclaims March 14 National Equal Pay Day in Maine

According to the United States Census Bureau, the difference between median earnings for men and women in Maine who worked full-time, year-round in 2021 was $9,991.

MAINE -Governor Janet Mills has proclaimed March 14, 2023 National Equal Pay Day in Maine, symbolizing how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year. Nationally, women age 15 and over who are working full-time, year-round are on average paid just 84 cents for every dollar paid to men. The wage gap is even more pronounced for women of color. Nationally in 2021, African American women made 63 cents on the dollar, and Hispanic or Latina women just 57 cents on the dollar compared to white, non-Hispanic men.

"On this Equal Pay Day, let us recommit to paying women fairly and equally based on their experience, their responsibilities, and their qualifications so that we can level the playing field for women across Maine and ensure that our state provides opportunity for all," said Governor Janet Mills. "Not only is it good public policy, but it's the right thing to do."

Requirements regarding equal pay have been a part of Maine law since 1949, but wage inequality persists. To promote pay equality, Governor Mills signed legislation in 2019 to discourage employers from basing wages on an employee's salary history.

"The difference between median earnings for men and women in Maine who worked full-time, year-round in 2021 was nearly $10,000. And while women in general have had to work until half-way through March to earn what men already earned in 2022, the reality is even starker for women of color," said Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman. "This Equal Pay Day, we are reminded that pay equity for all women is in the best interest of everyone, and so solutions must be a collaborative effort."

Nationally, as of 2021, the average differences in median earnings between white, non-Hispanic or Latino men and women of color are $28,797 for American Indian and Alaska Native women, $24,975 for Black or African American women, and $2,933 for Asian women.

According to the 2017-2021 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, the five occupational groups in Maine with the largest wage gaps are legal occupations; firefighting and prevention; health diagnosing and treating practitioners; architecture and engineering occupations; and health technologists and technicians.

"The data is clear that women are actually losing ground in salary equity, not gaining it. The gender pay gap in Maine has increased since 2018, with women making on average almost $10,000 less per year than men - and that disparity is even higher for women of color and trans women," said Destie Hohman Sprague, Executive Director of the Maine Womens Lobby. "Equal Pay Day is a chance to face this challenge head-on, and identify systemic solutions to achieve equity for all of us."

"Women workers are still underrepresented in high-paying jobs and are still often paid less for the same work. Sexist perceptions of womens ability to work in certain sectors and underlying biases that they dont need the money are unfortunately still common," said Cynthia Phinney, President of the AFL-CIO. "However, women in unions are much more likely to have wage parity with their male colleagues because their wages are transparent, and everybody is paid equally in a union contract. Thats one reason why it is critical to ensure all workers have the right to join unions free from threats, intimidation, or retaliation."

Maine's Equal Pay Law requires that employees be paid the same wages as employees of the opposite sex for work that is of a comparable nature in skill, effort, and responsibility. MDOLs Bureau of Labor Standards, who enforces the Equal Pay Law in Maine, has a poster available for employers free of charge that outlines the basics of the law:

  • An employer may not discriminate between employees in the same establishment on the basis of sex by paying wages to any employee at a rate less than the rate at which the employer pays any employee of the opposite sex for comparable work on jobs that have comparable requirements relating to skill, effort and responsibility.

  • An employer may not prohibit employees from discussing their wages with coworkers.

Anyone who believes they are not being paid the same wages as an employee of the opposite sex for comparable work, should file an equal pay complaint. The Maine Department of Labor has a printable equal pay complaint form here:

A mailed or emailed complaint form can be requested by contacting the Wage and Hour Division at 207-623-7900 or

More information on equal pay can be found on the U.S. Dept. of Labors Womens Bureau website: