ALBANY, NY (WENY) — Gov. Kathy Hochul recently amended a labor law now requiring employers to disclose compensation to applicants and employees. The law establishes a statewide pay transparency that aims to address systematic pay inequity and discrimination.
The law also prohibits retaliation and allows individuals to report violations to the state Department of Labor.
“This legislation will help a lot of women, especially domestic violence survivors or single moms,” said Somia El-Rowmeim, Executive Director, Women’s Empowerment Coalition NYC.
Some lawmakers said this will level the playing field and change workforce culture.
“When employers provide much needed clarity to pay structures and make that information available to employees and job seekers, we can reduce gender pay inequities by encouraging employers to update antiquated practices that have reinforced patterns of wage discrimination,” said Assembly member Latoya Joyner.
The legislation wrote in it’s justification that pay secrecy is a contributing factor to pay inequity and pay gaps that predominantly impacts women, people of color, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ communities.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor women made 83 cents for every dollar that men made in 2020, and Black women made 64 cents.
El-Rowmeim said this legislation is a step in the right direction, but there is still more work to be done.
“There is also ways that the business owners or companies can just not accept the employee because of the color or of the identity,” she said.
When El-Rowmeim came to New York in 2007 and started applying for jobs, she recalled feeling discriminated against by employers.
“I felt that because I’m a Hijabi woman, I’m not gonna get the same treatment that other women can apply for this job even if I am more qualified than the other women,” she said.
El-Rowmeim added that discrimination is still one of the biggest problems facing workforce culture and she hopes that lawmakers continue to tackle this issue.