Assembly Passes Pay Equity Legislation
April 19, 2010
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Labor Committee Chair Susan John and Women’s Issues Task Force Chair Ellen Jaffee announced the passage of a legislative package that aims to end pay discrimination in the workplace. Today’s action, in recognition of National Equal Pay Day, marks the 13th consecutive year the Assembly has passed pay equity legislation. “When you consider the overwhelming number of women in the workplace that have comparable education, skills and experience to their male counterparts, it is startling and unjustifiable that there continues to be a wage disparity between men and women in New York State,” said Silver (D-Manhattan). “The legislation passed today, in commemoration of National Equal Pay Day, can correct the injustices associated with pay inequality, to ensure that these discriminatory wage practices end now.” The National Committee on Pay Equity found that the median salary of women working full-time was 77 percent of men’s median income in 2008, a 0.7 percent drop from 2007. This shows a narrowing of the wage gap by less than half a percent per year since the Federal Pay Equity Act was signed in 1963. Over a working lifetime, this wage disparity costs the average woman an estimated $700,000 to $2 million, not including the negative impact the difference also has on both Social Security and pension benefits for women. “Despite so many efforts, pay equity has yet to be universally achieved in New York,” said John (D-Rochester). “Time and time again, at our legislative hearings, we have consistently received testimony from women making less than their male counterparts, for comparable work. This legislation can help bring an end to this disparity.” “It’s hard to believe that in 2010, jobs that are traditionally held by women still pay less than those typically held by men,” said Jaffee (D-Suffern). “For example, administrative assistant positions pay less than custodial jobs, and emergency services operators get paid less than fire dispatchers.” The legislative package includes the New York State Fair Pay Act, which would ensure pay differentiation is not based on a person’s sex, national origin or race (A.3911/John). The other measures would:
- Implement a state policy of equal compensation for comparable work for state employees regardless of sex (A.1119/Destito);
- Make discriminatory salary practices unlawful, with particular attention to pay differences between traditionally female-dominated occupations and traditionally male-dominated occupations (A.2351/Lifton);
- Prohibit public employers from compensating employees of opposite sexes differently for work of comparable worth (A.6712/Rosenthal); and
- Establish Women’s Equality Day, to be commemorated on August 26 (A.2231-B/Lifton).