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Legislation Proposed to Address Wage Inequality

It’s not news that there is a wage gap between men and women.

The New York City Public Advocate’s office released a wage equity report earlier this year, that shows just how wide this gap is.

  • New York City women earn 5.8 billion dollars less in wages than men each year and face a large wage gap in every industrial sector.
  • Even among women with a college or post-graduate degree in New York City, the gender wage gap persists at 16 percent and 20 percent, respectively.
  • Wage disparities for women of color in New York City are worse than the national average.

On August 16, 2016, based on the above findings, Letitia James, New York City’s Public Adovcate, introduced a bill to amend the New York City Human Rights Law, “in relation to prohibiting employers from inquiring about or relying on a prospective employee’s salary history.”

As the summary of the bill states, “This bill would prohibit employers from inquiring about a prospective employee’s salary history during all stages of the employment process. In the event that an employer is already aware of a prospective employee’s salary history, this bill would prohibit reliance on that information in the determination of salary. When employers rely on salary histories to determine compensation, they perpetuate the gender wage gap. Adopting measures like this bill can reduce the likelihood that women will be prejudiced by prior salary levels and help break the cycle of gender pay inequity.”

The proposed amendment would not apply to any actions taken by an employer in accordance with any federal, state, or local law that authorizes the disclosure or verification of salary history for employment purposes.

This bill has been referred to the City Council’s Committee on Civil Rights for further consideration.

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