Studies estimate that women in California lose $87 billion per year due to the gender wage gap. Today, the State of California has taken steps to decrease that massive stat by signing the California Equal Pay Pledge, an initiative created by California’s First Partner, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, to help lessen the gender pay gap. California Governor Gavin Newsom also announced the creation of a new chief equity officer position to help bring an equity perspective to California’s hiring and help achieve pay equality among government workers.
Although California has the fourth-smallest pay gap (trailing Vermont, Hawaii, and Maryland), there is still work. Women in the state of California make only 88 cents for every dollar earned by a man. Meanwhile, Black, Latina, and Native American women face a much more significant pay gap.
Companies that sign the Equal Pay Pledge agree to perform a yearly, company-wide gender pay screening. They are not required to report their findings publicly, but they use the information to examine their hiring and promotion processes to decrease unconscious bias and ultimately close the pay gap. Over 60 major California companies, including Airbnb, Apple, Gap Inc., Intel, and Twitter, have already signed the pledge. California’s largest employer, the state, has also signed.
The pay analysis forms an awareness that is the first measure to ending pay differences. Organizations that don’t know understand unconscious bias slips into their hiring, pay, or promotion processes are helpless to reduce their gender pay gap. They can begin to identify problem areas through data analysis, which is the first measure toward change.
The pledge adds to the equal pay requirements already on the books in the state. California companies with over 100 employees must submit pay data to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing to comply with a law signed by Governor Newsom in 2020. Additionally, California’s Fair Pay Act bans unequal pay rates for workers of the opposite sex who do “substantially similar work.”
While also pledging to complete a pay analysis, California will be among one of the first states to have a chief equity officer position (Illinois appointed a chief equity officer last year). The chief equity officer’s duties will include concentrating on policies and programs that could help reduce the gender pay gap. They will also make sure that California government workforce measures reflect the highest standards of equity, diversity, and inclusion. The position is expected to be filled within the year.
The First Partner leads the Equal Pay Pledge while collaborating with organizations like the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls and the California Labor Commissioner’s Office.
Contact us for a free case consultation immediately if you feel you’ve been discriminated against or paid unfair wages based on gender, religion, sexual orientation, or race. You owe it to yourself to take full advantage of your rights. Our experienced attorneys at Olivier & Schreiber, LLP can answer your questions and help you understand the relevant laws.
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