Governor Calls on Businesses to Conduct Internal Reviews of Pay Policies to Ensure Compliance with New Law
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced a new law further bolstering New York's nation-leading pay equity policies will go into effect tomorrow. The new law prohibits unequal pay on the basis of a protected class for all substantially similar work. Governor Cuomo also called on businesses in New York to conduct internal reviews of their pay policies and make adjustments as necessary in accordance with the new law.
"We are at a critical point in history when this country is finally recognizing the long-term discrimination against women and taking action to right the wrongs of an unfair system," Governor Cuomo said. "There is no rational reason why women should not get paid the same as men, and these common sense measures will take us one step closer to true equality. Now it's time for businesses across the state to take a hard look at their pay policies and ensure women employees get paid the same as their male colleagues if they are doing substantially similar work."
"Countless women put their heart and soul into their jobs, and at the end of the day still earn less than men," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "Although New York has among the lowest gender wage gaps in the nation, the disparity still exists. That is unacceptable. We are committed to closing the gap once and for all in New York, and these new pay equity laws bring us closer to ensuring equality and fairness for all women. We have made significant progress, but we will not rest until every woman is receiving equal pay for equal work."
The new law that goes into effect tomorrow, October 8, expands the definition of "equal pay for equal work" and will help to ensure pay for women is commensurate with their job responsibilities, not solely based on title. Additionally, starting in January, a complementary law will go into effect that will forbid all employers - public and private - who do business in New York State from asking prospective employees about their salary history and compensation. The measures build on two executive orders signed by the Governor last year to eliminate the wage gap by prohibiting state entities from evaluating candidates based on wage history and requiring state contractors to disclose data on the gender, race and ethnicity of employees - leveraging taxpayer dollars to drive transparency and advance pay equity statewide.
These actions build on common sense measures championed by the Governor this year, including extending the statute of limitations for rape in the second and third degrees, enhancing workplace sexual harassment laws and funding a community college program that will help single moms move out of poverty.
In 2017, the Governor directed the Department of Labor to issue a report on the gender pay gap in New York and provide recommendations to break the cycle of unfair, unequal compensation. After holding pay equity hearings across the state, the Department of Labor released its report last Spring. Acting immediately upon its recommendations, Governor Cuomo introduced a program bill to expand on his executive orders by instituting a salary history ban that prohibits all employers, public and private, who do business in New York from asking prospective employees about their salary history and compensation.