Continuing his commitment to protecting women’s rights, Assemblymember Phil Steck (D-Colonie) announced he helped pass a legislative package that, if signed into law, would end wage discrimination in New York State. Specifically, Steck sponsored legislation that would make it easier to enforce equal pay regulations and create a state policy to determine and define “comparable work.”
“Wage disparity based on gender, race or national origin is an inexcusable and out-dated practice that must stop,” Assemblymember Steck said. “As a civil rights and labor law attorney, I’m bewildered that such a cut-and-dry example of discrimination has been tolerated for this long.”
Today, women in New York make 84 cents for every dollar men earn, amounting to a yearly pay gap of more than $8,000 between men and women working full time in New York State.i And for minority women the gap is even worse, with African-American women being paid 64 cents and Latina women being paid just 55 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men nationally.ii
Assemblymember Phil Steck co-sponsored three bills included in the legislative package that would:
- enact the New York State Fair Pay Act to address and enforce pay equity, including broadening equal pay protections to include equivalent jobs, making it unlawful for an employer to discriminate between employees on the basis of gender, race or national origin, and ensuring that traditional female and minority jobs are not undervalued (A.5958);
- establish state policy that local political subdivisions ensure equal pay for work of comparable value regardless of sex, race or national origin (A.1729); and
- implement a state policy that compensates employees in state service equally for work of comparable value by eliminating wage inequality for workers due to sex, race or national origin (A.753).
Also included in this legislative package that Steck supported is a bill that would design and publish a report evaluating wage disparities of public employees related to job titles, segregated by the gender, race and/or national origin of employees (A.881).
As a group, full-time working women are paid nearly $23 billion less every year because of the wage gap. Statistics show that if a woman in New York was paid equal pay for equal work, she could afford 63 more weeks of groceries; four more months of mortgage and utilities payments; eight more months of rent; or 2,116 additional gallons of gas each year.iii With over 1 million households headed by women, the wag gap only further exasperates the problem, Assemblymember Steck noted.
“The wage gap is hurting households everywhere, and we cannot wait any longer to get this into law. We must take swift action to make equal pay a reality,” Assemblymember Steck said.