Says New Jersey Has to Do Better for 47 Percent of State’s Workforce
TRENTON – Senator Linda Greenstein, D-Middlesex and Mercer, issued the following statement today after the Senate Labor Committee approved a package of bills she sponsored to advance pay equity in the Garden State:
“With women making up 47 percent of the State’s workforce, we simply have to do a better job in ensuring equal pay for equal work. While New Jersey traditionally does better than most states in terms the disparity between what men and women earn, we cannot be fully satisfied until all people are guaranteed fair and equitable pay.
“The bills approved by the Labor Committee today represent common sense solutions to making sure that people know their rights, and that they’re allowed to exercise their rights in calling for wage fairness. They also make sure that public contracts in New Jersey live up to the standard of equal pay for equal work for all people, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity or other social consideration. As a legislative package, these bills will result in greater wage fairness and women being empowered to challenge the status quo if they’re being paid unfairly.”
The bills that were approved by the Labor Committee today are:
• S-1930, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and Senator Greenstein, which would require employers to post notice of worker rights – particularly the right to be free of gender inequity or bias in pay – in the workplace, and to provide written or electronic notification to workers of their rights under the New Jersey “Law Against Discrimination,” Title VII of the federal “Civil Rights Act of 1964” and the “Equal Pay Act of 1963.” The bill was approved by a vote of 3-1 with one abstention;
• S-1932, sponsored by Senators Weinberg and Greenstein, which would require public contractors to report the gender, race, job title, occupational category and rate of compensation of every person employed in New Jersey in association with a public contract to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. The bill was approved by a vote of 3-1, with one abstention;
• S-1933, sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senator Weinberg, which would apply provisions of the federal “Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009” – namely, the ability to “restart” the statute of limitations every time an employee receives a paycheck that violates discriminatory pay practices – to the State “Law Against Discrimination.” The sponsors noted that the goal of the legislation is to ensure that people who’ve been subject to pay discrimination for an extended period of time wouldn’t have their claims thrown out in court on a technicality. The bill was approved by a vote of 3-1 with one abstention;
• S-1935, sponsored by Senators Weinberg and Greenstein, which would prohibit employers from retaliating against any employee who discusses information regarding job title, occupational category and rate of compensation with a fellow or former employee. The intent, according to the bill sponsors, is to create a more open environment in which pay disparity based on gender discrimination is uncovered and dealt with appropriately. The bill was approved by a vote of 3-1 with one abstention;
• SR-50, sponsored by Senate President Sweeney, Senator Weinberg, and Senator Barbara Buono, which urges Congress to pass the “Paycheck Fairness Act,” in order to combat the persistent income gap attributable to systemic gender discrimination nationwide. The resolution was approved by a vote of 4-0 with one abstention.
All five bills now head to the full Senate for consideration.