Assemblyman Phil Ramos (D-Brentwood) announced that he passed legislation to help ensure women earn equal pay for equal work. The Assembly package coincides with Equal Pay Day, April 4, which marks how far into the year women must work to earn the same amount their male counterparts made in the previous year.
“Wage discrimination is reprehensible. It hurts our families and our economy,” said Ramos. “Equal pay isn’t only about ensuring fair compensation for equal work – it’s about justice and opportunity.”
In the United States, women earn 80 cents on average for every dollar a man makes. This disparity is even greater for African-American and Hispanic women, who earn 63 cents and 54 cents, respectively, for each dollar their male counterparts earn.1 Over the course of their lifetime, the pay gap costs women hundreds of thousands of dollars.
New York is headed in the right direction when it comes to addressing income inequality, but more needs to be done. While above the national average, women in New York still earn only 89 cents for every dollar a man makes.2 To ensure women have greater protections under the law, the Assembly’s package includes the New York State Fair Pay Act to enforce pay equity by broadening equal pay protections to include equivalent jobs and ensuring that traditional female and minority jobs are not undervalued (A.4696).
Additionally, the Assembly passed legislation that implements a state policy of wage equality for state and municipal employees, as well as directs the Civil Service Commission to study and publish a report evaluating wage disparities among public employees to establish where and how inequalities exist. This ensures that, moving forward, employees with equal jobs receive equal compensation regardless of gender, race and national origin (A.658, A.2549).
The 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).
“New York is ahead of the curve, but we’re still not there yet,” said Ramos. “With what’s happening in Washington, it’s more important than ever to fight for full women’s equality here at home.”