Flushing lawmaker backs bills aimed at closing the gender pay gap in New York state

2018-04-17 Rozic Introduces Equal Pay Day Reso
Photo courtesy of Rozic’s office

A series of bills aimed at closing the pay gap that recently passed the Assembly have a Flushing-based lawmaker’s support.

Assemblywoman Nily Rozic announced the Assembly approved an act to amend certain aspects of the New York State Fair Pay Act. The legislation broadens existing parameters for equal pay protections, Rozic said.

Also included in the package of legislation is a bill prohibiting employers from requesting, requiring or seeking a current or prospective employee’s salary or wage history as a condition of employment or promotion. There are currently only four other states that have laws forbidding wage history questions.

The legislative package also includes a measure to ensure that the state complies with the federal Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by providing “fair, non-biased compensation.” It also gives public employees a private right of action to sue for compensation and enforce equal pay disparities.

These measures must still before the state Senate and Governor Andrew Cuomo for approval.

Rozic also introduced a symbolic resolution that declared April 10, 2018, as Equal Pay Day, which signals how far into the year women have to work to match the salary earned by their male counterparts the previous year.

In the United States, female workers earned 80.5 cents for every dollar earned by a man in 2016, according to Census Bureau data. Race and ethnicity can also widen the gap: the National Women’s Law Center concluded in 2017 black and Latina women on average earn 63 and 54 cents to the dollar, respectively, while Asian woman make slightly more than the average at 85 cents to the dollar.

New York is closer to closing the pay gap than the national average, Rozic noted. Women in the state make an average 89 cents to every dollar.

Still, the assemblywoman said, more need to be done.

“The reality is that in 2018 we should be able to tell women and girls that their hard work and determination will be valued equally and fairly,” Rozic said. “But that’s unfortunately not the truth. The gender pay gap forces women to play catch-up their whole lives, making economic security harder to reach for them and their families.”