Assemblymember Bronson: Assembly Passes Equal Pay Legislation to Help Close Gender Pay Gap

Assemblymember Harry Bronson (D-Rochester, Chili, Henrietta) announced he passed key legislation to help ensure women earn equal pay for equal work. The passage of these measures coincides with Equal Pay Day on April 4, which marks how far into the new year women must work to earn the amount made by men the previous year.

“The fact that women still earn less than men for equal work in 2017 is a gross injustice not only to women, but also to our communities,” Bronson said. “Women are increasingly becoming the sole breadwinners of their households and are finding it harder to make ends meet. It’s time we make pay equity a reality in New York so women can finally have a fair shot.”

Women across the country earn only 80 cents for every dollar a man does. It’s even less for African-American and Hispanic women, who earn on average 63 cents and 54 cents, respectively, for each dollar their white male counterpart earns.1 It will take African-American women until July 31 and Hispanic women until Nov. 2 to catch up.2 The pay gap costs women hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of their lifetimes, and this issue is compounded as more women remain single or raise a family on their own. A recent survey also revealed that out of 550 occupations, women only earned more than their male counterparts in a mere seven of them.3

Although the wage gap is smaller in New York when compared to the national average – women here earn about 89 cents to a man’s dollar – more must be done.4 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).

Further, the Assembly passed legislation that would implement a state policy of wage equality for state and municipal employees, as well as direct 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 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).

“These measures are an important step forward in ensuring equal pay for equal work once and for all,” Bronson said. “A person’s gender should never determine what their salary is. I’ll keep fighting to remove these oppressive barriers and support women and families.”