Calls on Governor to Support Pay Equity Bills
TRENTON – Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg applauded action taken today by President Obama to boost pay equity for women through two key federal reforms. The executive action comes on ‘Equal Pay Day,’ the date on the calendar that marks the amount of extra time the average woman needs to work to match the earnings of the average man from the previous year.
“Equal Pay Day demonstrates the magnitude of the wage disparities that continue to exist between men and women in the workplace,” said Senator Weinberg (D-Bergen). “It takes the average woman more than 15 months of work to match the annual earnings of the average man. This is a problem that results in hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost wages for women over their lifetimes. I applaud President Obama for taking action today to help end this pervasive problem, and call on the governor to support our pay equity bills so that we can improve conditions for working women in New Jersey.”
One of the reforms implemented by President Obama mirrors provisions in the Wage Transparency Act, S-1038, sponsored by Senator Weinberg, and approved last month by the Senate, to require state contractors to report salary information by gender, race and job title to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. A memorandum issued by the President today will require federal contractors to report data to the government on the compensation they provide employees by sex and race. The President also issued an executive order to prohibit federal employers from retaliating against employees who discuss their compensation. Both actions are designed to improve wage transparency in an effort to eliminate wage disparities.
Senator Weinberg is also the sponsor of the Unfair Wage Recovery Act, S-783, approved by the Senate in March, which would apply provisions of the federal “Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act,” to state law, giving women who suffered wage discrimination for an extended time the ability to be protected by the state discrimination law. The bill would “restart” the statute of limitations every time a victim of pay discrimination receives a paycheck that violates equal pay laws. Governor Christie vetoed versions of both bills last session.
“Momentum is clearly gaining for reforms that would close the pay gap nationally, but we should not wait to protect women against unfair treatment by employers in New Jersey,” said Senator Weinberg. “Women’s work is just as valuable as the work of our male counterparts, and shining a light on discriminatory workplace practices is important to closing the pay gap. These bills would allow those who are being discriminated against to access wage information so they can seek redress and obtain the wages they deserve. I urge the governor to stand up against gender warfare and to sign this legislation when it reaches his desk. It’s time to do the right thing for working women in our state.”