Supervisor Farrell Aims To Level The Playing Field For Women On Equal Pay Day

Today, on “Equal Pay Day,” Supervisor Mark Farrell aims to help level the playing field for women. He will introduce San Francisco’s first-ever ‘Pay Parity’ law, which bans employers from considering past salary information in determining what salary to offer the applicant. The law would also ban employers from asking past employers about an applicant’s current or past salary without the applicant’s authorization.

“Women in San Francisco are paid 84 cents for every dollar a man makes – with women of color earning even less – and I am committed to closing this gap,” said Supervisor Farrell. “My ‘Pay Parity’ law seeks to help level the playing field, so women earn equal pay for equal work.”

 “Despite our strong state equal pay law, the gender wage gap continues to cost California women and families billions of dollars each year,” said Jennifer Reisch, Legal Director for Equal Rights Advocates. “Prohibiting the use of prior salary in setting employee pay will help to move us one step closer to leveling the playing field for women and all workers who have been underpaid or faced wage discrimination.”

 According to the 2015 United States Census, women in San Francisco are paid 84 cents for every dollar a man makes. Women of color are paid even less. African American women are paid only 60 cents on the dollar while Latina women are paid only 55 cents to each dollar.

 Farrell’s policy seeks to address the problematic practices of using past salary history from job applicants to set an employee’s wage, which has been shown to contribute to the gender wage gap by further perpetuating wage inequalities across all occupations. Studies have shown that when women are required to disclose past salary information as part of the application and salary negotiation process that they often end up at a significant disadvantage.

 “My policy will enable fair salary and wage negotiations between applicants and employers while working to close the gender wage gap,” said Supervisor Farrell. “Instead of relying on past information that may not be relevant, new job applicants will know that they will be paid based upon their experience and merits rather than just past wages.”

 Farrell’s policy has two main mandates that will help advance equal pay for women. First, Farrell’s policy will ban all private employers in San Francisco from considering current, or past salary in determining what salary to offer a job applicant. Second, Farrell’s policy prohibits all private employers in San Francisco from disclosing past salary and wage history without the applicant’s explicit authorization.

 The City and County of San Francisco already does not ask job applicants their past salary or wage history as part of the application or salary negotiation process. Farrell’s policy establishes the City’s Office of Labor Standards and Enforcement as the city department responsible for enforcing the law and empowers the department to take appropriate action against employers if a violation of the policy occurs.

Farrell’s policy is endorsed by the Equal Rights Advocates as well as co-sponsored by Supervisor Katy Tang. Farrell expects his policy to be heard in a Board of Supervisors committee in just over a month and up for a full vote at the Board of Supervisors shortly thereafter.

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