Jackson's Equal Pay Data Bill Passes off Senate Floor

May 31, 2018

SACRAMENTO –Legislation by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) to shed light on what large California companies pay their employees passed off the Senate floor today. SB 1284 gives 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.

“Despite the advancements we have made in the workforce, the gender pay gap persists, hurting California employees, their families, and our economy,” said Senator Jackson. “Many employers are unaware of their own disparities in pay. SB 1284 will give employers an opportunity to examine their pay practices and make the necessary adjustments to ensure all employees are earning the pay they deserve.”

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 now heads to the Assembly for consideration.

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