Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson’s SB 358, the California Fair Pay Act, passed unanimously out of the Senate on Monday and heads to Governor Jerry Brown, who broke with convention on Women’s Equality Day by tweeting that he would sign the bill.
The new bill goes further than the 1963 federal Equal Pay Act. The California Fair Pay Act will ensure women receive equal pay for doing work substantially similar to that of their male colleagues, will protect women who discuss or ask how much their male colleagues are paid, and will require employers to demonstrate that wage differences are due to reasonable, job-related factors rather than to gender discrimination.
In a prepared statement, Jackson discussed the negative economic impacts of the gender wage gap, saying, “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 a year.”
In 2013, a California woman who worked full-time made a median 84 cents to each dollar a man earned, according to Equal Rights Advocates, a San Francisco-based civil rights organization. SB 358 will make substantial difference for women of color in California: currently, African-American women make 64 cents for every dollar a white man makes and Latinas make 44 cents on the dollar, the largest Latina wage gap in the nation.