Assemblymember Steck: Assembly’s Equal Pay Package Targets Inequality

Assemblymember Phil Steck (D-Colonie) announced that he helped pass legislation – including a pair of bills he co-sponsored – to help ensure women receive equal pay for equal work.

“Gender should never be a factor in how much someone earns,” Steck said. “Equal work deserves equal pay. New York has led the charge in bridging the gender pay gap, and this legislation brings us closer to ensuring that women are paid fairly for their work.”

Nationally, women earn just 80 cents for every dollar their male colleagues make.1 The gap is even worse for African-American and Hispanic women, who earn 63 cents and 54 cents, respectively, compared to men.2 While New York has come closest to closing the gap, with women earning 89 cents to their male counterparts,3 steps need to be taken to end the gap once and for all to ensure pay equity and help more families achieve economic security, Steck noted.

The legislative package includes a measure co-sponsored by Steck that implements a state policy to ensure wage equality for state and municipal employees (A.658). Steck also co-sponsored a bill that prohibits employers from requiring or seeking an employee’s salary or wage history as a condition of employment or promotion (A.2040-C). Steck noted that wage history questions make it nearly impossible to close the gender pay gap and all workers’ salaries should be based on what the job is worth, not what the employee previously made.

The legislation also 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). To further combat wage inequalities in the workforce, another bill directs the Civil Service Commission to study and publish a report evaluating wage disparities among public employees (A.2549).

Further, the package includes a bill 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).

“This is a major victory not only for women, but also for our families and for our state as a whole,” Steck said. “We’re sending a strong message that discrimination in any form won’t be tolerated in New York.”