One of the initiatives Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo promised to implement immediately if she became governor called for setting up a system that would give a special designation to Rhode Island companies that are committed to treating women equally in the workplace, including bestowing equal pay for equal work.
"As governor, I will immediately ... create an equal pay certification status that will be awarded to all Rhode Island businesses that show a commitment to equal pay practices," she said in a position paper. "In order to earn this certification, a business must show that it adheres to state and federal level equal pay laws, and has internal policies which forbid discrimination on the basis of sex, and procedures in place to remedy discrimination complaints."
No such certification program exists today.
Raimondo did take a step toward implementing the plan on March 31, 2015, by announcing that she was reviving the Rhode Island Commission on Women, appointing a dozen women to the group, and instructing them to create just such a program.
According to a news release, "The commission will spend the spring developing details and guidelines for implementing an equal pay certification status."
The group is supposed to have its first meeting this month.
This was one of two initiatives Raimondo promised to implement immediately. The first, setting up a tip line to report employers who don't provide equal pay to women for equal work, took five weeks. Nonetheless, we gave her a Promise Kept on that one.
With this second promise, it is more than 12 weeks since the inauguration and no certification program has been implemented. There is just the promise that one will be developed.
In retrospect, saying that she would immediately create something as complicated as "an equal pay certification status" seems more politically motivated than realistic.
But we'll give her credit for taking a first step and we'll keep tabs on the work of the commission.
We rate this promise In The Works.