Assemblymember Taylor: Gender Pay Gap Holds Women Back
Assemblymember Taylor (D-Manhattan) announced that he passed legislation to help ensure women earn equal pay for equal work as part of his fight for full women’s equality.
The package includes a resolution recognizing April 10 as Equal Pay Day, which represents how far into the year women must work to earn the same amount their male counterparts made the previous year (K.995).
“We should be able to tell our daughters and the young girls of this state that their hard work and determination will be valued equally and fairly,” said Assemblymember Taylor. “But that’s unfortunately not the truth. The gender pay gap forces women to play catch-up their whole lives, making economic security harder to reach for them and their families. Equal pay for equal work shouldn’t be a novel idea – it levels the playing field and is the right thing to do.”
Women across the country only earn 80 cents for every dollar a man does. It’s even less for African-American and Hispanic women, who earn 63 cents and 54 cents, respectively, for each dollar their white male counterpart earns.1 It will take African-American women until Aug. 7 and Hispanic women until Nov. 1 to observe their equal pay days. 2 Although New York is closest to closing the pay gap, women here still only make 89 cents for every dollar a man makes. 3 The pay gap costs women hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of their lifetimes. And as women are increasingly becoming the breadwinners, 4 this stark inequality negatively affects their families, communities and local economies, noted Assemblymember Taylor.
To ensure women have greater protections under the law, the Assembly’s legislation includes the New York State Fair Pay Act to address and enforce pay equity, including broadening equal pay protections to include equivalent jobs, and ensuring that traditional female and minority jobs are not undervalued (A.4696). To further combat wage inequality, the Assembly passed a bill prohibiting employers from requesting, requiring or seeking a current or prospective employee’s salary or wage history as a condition of employment or promotion (A.2040-C). There are currently four states, as well as Puerto Rico, that have laws forbidding wage history questions, and earlier this month, a federal appeals court ruled that employers cannot justify paying women less based on their previous salaries.5
Additionally, the Assembly passed legislation that would implement a state policy to ensure wage equality for state and municipal employees, as well as legislation directing the Civil Service Commission to study and publish a report evaluating wage disparities among public employees in order to establish where and how inequities exist. This will help ensure that, moving forward, employees with equal jobs receive the same compensation regardless of gender, race and national origin (A.658, A.2549).
The legislative package also includes a measure to ensure that the state complies with the federal Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and gives public employees a private right of action to sue for compensation and enforce equal pay disparities (A.2425).
“From equal pay to reproductive freedom, the fight for full women’s rights continues,” said Assemblymember Taylor. “Gender should never be a deciding factor in a person’s chance at economic security, opportunity and the pursuit of happiness.”