On Equal Pay Day, Jackson Announces Bill to Continue the Fight for Equal Pay

April 10, 2018

SACRAMENTO – On Equal Pay Day, the day that represents how far into the next year women must work to earn what men did in the prior year, Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) announced legislation that will shed light on what larger companies are paying their employees – giving businesses a chance to self-examine their pay practices while providing California an opportunity to monitor the progress toward equal pay.

Enacting into state law an Obama era rule that President Trump blocked once he was in office, SB 1284 would require California employers with 100 or more employees to submit a pay data report annually to the Department of Industrial Relations, outlining compensation and hours worked of its employees by gender, race, ethnicity and job category.

The reports would ensure privacy by requiring that individually identifiable information would be protected and not available to the general public, but would allow state agencies to identify patterns of wage disparities, better enforce wage discrimination laws, when appropriate, all while encouraging employers to analyze and self-correct their own pay practices in the process.

“We cannot correct what we do not know. Pay discrimination is often insidious and hidden. And it’s not just a women’s issue, it harms our families and our economy,” said Senator Jackson. “Despite all the progress we have made here in California, the gender pay gap persists, with women making on average 80 cents to every dollar a man earns and women of color earning far less. SB 1284 will help California employers analyze their own pay practices and be held accountable for their choices.”

Despite significant progress made in California in recent years, including the enactment of SB 358 (Jackson), the California Fair Pay Act, in 2016, the gender pay gap remains, resulting in an estimated $78.6 billion in lost wages for women each year in California.

When pay disparities go undetected, it becomes even more difficult to close the gap. In fact, many employers themselves are unaware of discrepancies in their own companies. As such, the Obama administration introduced a new rule that would have gone into effect this year to require large employers to report pay data broken down by gender, race and ethnicity.

Unfortunately, the Trump administration blocked implementation of the rule. SB 1284 will ensure that, despite this setback at the federal level, important pay data will continue to be compiled and aggregated in California.

The bill will be heard in Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee tomorrow, April 11, 2018.

Jackson represents the 19th Senate District, which includes all of Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County.