New legislation has been passed in California, USA, to help close the gender pay gap.
The California Fair Pay Act was signed into law by Californian governor Jerry Brown to strengthen equal pay legislation in the state.
Current law prohibits employers from paying a woman less than a man when they are both doing equal work at the same establishment. With the governor’s signature, California will now require equal pay, regardless of gender, for ’substantially similar work’.
The act means organisations throughout the state of California will have to prove that male workers who earn more than their female counterparts are done so based on skills or experience. It also prohibits retaliation against employees who invoke the law, protects those who discuss wages and allows claims based on salaries at different workplaces.
Brown said: “Sixty-six years after passage of the California Equal Pay Act, many women still earn less money than men doing the same or similar work. This bill is another step toward closing the persistent wage gap between men and women.”
Senator Jackson, chair of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus, added: “Today is a momentous day for California, and it is long overdue. Equal pay isn’t just the right thing for women, it’s the right thing for our economy and for California. Families rely on women’s income more than ever before.
”Because of the wage gap, our state and families are missing out on $33.6 billion [£22 billion] a year. That money could be flowing into families’ pocketbooks, into our businesses and our economy. After years of dealing with a persistent wage gap, and an equal pay law that has been on the books since 1949 but that is not as strong as it should be, the time is now for women’s paychecks to finally reflect their hard work and true value.”