CT on verge of banning pay history question, shrinking gender wage gap
Connecticut is one day away from implementing a pay equity law, passed during the last legislation session, which will offer important protections to workers and their families. Becoming law on Jan. 1, 2019, Public Act No. 18-1 prohibits employers from asking job applicants about their salary history, a practice that can perpetuate unfair wages and continue the gender wage gap.
According to the National Partnership for Women & Families, Women in CT, on average, earn about 80-cents on the dollar compared to men doing the same work. The gender wage gap costs women and their families more than $10,000 each year and more than $500,000 over the course of their careers. Connecticut is set to become the 11th state to enact legislation eliminating salary history from the hiring process.
“One of the most important things we can do as legislators is to lay the groundwork so the citizens of our state can thrive and prosper,” said State Representative Cheeseman (R-East Lyme, Salem). “This legislation helps ensure that a prospective employee’s salary history is not a defining factor when it comes to pay. This is, of course, of particular importance to women but will benefit anyone with a non-traditional work history. I am delighted to have been part of this effort to level the playing field.”
Rep. Cheeseman and fellow lawmakers assembled a bipartisan coalition, compromising businesses, labor, and the AARP to advance the legislation.
“I started advocating for this reform in 2017 and am thrilled that we are just days away from offering this important protection for not only women but anyone who has ever been unfairly paid,” said State Representative Derek Slap (D-West Hartford, Avon, Farmington), one of the lead sponsors of the legislation. “This law will help ensure that being paid unfairly once doesn’t result in a lifetime of low wages.”
State Senator Beth Bye (D-Bloomfield, Burlington, Farmington, West Hartford) said “This bill is a critical step for women through their working years and into retirement.”
“I am pleased that Connecticut has moved in the right direction to balance the rate of pay between men and women doing the same job. But more can be done. Women of color already face discrimination at work so lifting barriers to achieve pay equity must be a top priority during the 2019 legislative session,” said State Representative Porter (D-Hamden, New Haven).
State Representative Cristin McCarthy Vahey (D-Fairfield) said, “The steps we took towards pay equity are not only an important message for little girls and boys, but also a critical tool for women across the lifespan. Equal pay means a greater ability for women to care for themselves and their families.”
Beginning on January 1, 2019, Connecticut will be one step closer to narrowing the wage gap for women. The use of salary history in the hiring process perpetuates a cycle of lower earnings for women that begins just one year after college graduation,” said Kate Farrar, Executive Director of the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF). “We were proud to guide a bipartisan working group last session and advocate for the passage of P.A. 18-8. We look forward to continuing this momentum to close the wage gap next session with the passage of paid family and medical leave.”