EQUAL PAY: AN IMPORTANT STEP FORWARD FOR
FAMILIES AND CALIFORNIA
Today, Governor Jerry Brown signed my Senate Bill 358, the California Fair Pay Act, to close the wage gap women face at work. When it takes effect in January, it will be the strongest equal pay law in the country and could become a model for other states to follow.
News outlets around the state and country, from the Ventura County Star to the Wall Street Journal, have been taking notice of this important bill. A Sacramento Bee editorial listed its passage among the top accomplishments of the legislative session. The Washington Post wrote of the bill, "California will soon do something pretty major about the gender pay gap."
There are a few things about this bill that I want to bring to your attention.
Women's incomes matter to our families, our state, and our economy. Our society has changed, and women now make up nearly half of the workforce. Women's wages are vital for keeping families afloat. In many households, they are often the sole breadwinners or primary breadwinners. It is estimated that California women leave $33.6 billion on the table every year due to a lack of equal pay, which is money that could be going to help support their families, our communities, and our economy. When women are not paid fairly for their hard work, it hurts all of us.
It had overwhelming bipartisan support. As I worked on this bill this year, there was consensus among my Democratic and Republican colleagues, men and women alike, that it is time to close the wage gap once and for all. The bill passed off the Senate floor on a unanimous, bipartisan 40-0 vote. The bill had the support of labor groups, women's groups, the California Chamber of Commerce, and others.
It will be stronger than any other equal pay law in the country. We have a federal equal pay law. California also has had an equal pay law on the books since 1949, but both have simply has not been strong enough to change pay practices as significantly as they need to be. This bill will give women important new tools to challenge pay differences at work. Most importantly, I hope it gives many employers the incentive they need to take a careful look at their pay practices to ensure that women are not being denied the fair compensation their hard work has earned them.
I hope you'll join me in celebrating this important step forward for California, its women and families. As always, feel free to contact me by email, and follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson
State Senator, 19th Senate District