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Local state senator introduces pay transparency bill to address wage gaps

CA state capitol Sacramento 2017.jpg
KCBX file
New legislation has been introduced to help achieve pay equity in California.

State Senator Monique Limón (D - Santa Barbara) has introduced a pay transparency bill as a step toward achieving pay equity in the California workforce, saying transparency is key to achieving equal pay for equal work.

Limón said a recent analysis showed that pay gaps still persist for women and people of color in the state.

“California women in 2020 lost $46 billion due to the gender pay gap, and people of color in the state lost $61 billion due to the race pay gap,” she said.

With that in mind, Limón introduced the pay transparency bill in the legislature last week to help close the gaps, saying that when people are informed, they are better able to negotiate.

“SB 1162 does one really important thing, it asks for employers in businesses with 100 or more employees to disclose salary ranges for prospective employees,” Limón said.

The proposed bill expands on legislation that took effect in 2020, requiring California businesses with more than 100 employees to submit a yearly pay data report that contains the number of employees by race, ethnicity and sex in specified job categories.

Limón’s bill requires that these same businesses disclose the pay scale on all internal and external job postings, and that temporary and contract workers be included in the yearly reports.

“This bill helps identify this disparity by requiring transparency at every stage of the process,” she said.

The legislation also calls for the data to be publicly available without revealing people’s personally identifiable information.

Business advocacy groups have yet to weigh in on SB 1162. The California Chamber of Commerce said that they are reviewing the bill and have not yet taken a position on the proposed legislation.

Beth Thornton is a freelance reporter for KCBX, and a contributor to Issues & Ideas. She was a 2021 Data Fellow with the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism.
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