HARTFORD, CT - Governor Dannel P. Malloy on Tuesday announced that he has a signed into law legislation that will strengthen Connecticut’s ongoing efforts to secure equal pay for equal work for women in the workplace and help prevent unintended wage discrimination.
Proposed by the Governor in his State of the State address earlier this year, the new law prohibits employers from asking about a prospective employee’s wage and salary history during the job interview process.
“Even as they work harder and harder, the pay gap between men and women who are doing the same job continues to grow – particularly among women of color, and that is completely unacceptable,” Governor Malloy said. “Among other causes, this inequity is perpetuated by the practice of asking prospective employees for their salary history before an offer of employment is put on the table, which disproportionately ensures that women who were underpaid at their first job continue to be underpaid throughout their careers, creating a cycle and causing harm. Our work to make sure that women and people of color are paid equally for their work must continue every year in the legislature and every day as we work toward a culture of equality. We need to be leaders on this front, and I thank all of the hardworking proponents who got this bill across the finish line so that I could sign it into law.”
Numerous studies have found that women are paid less in nearly every occupation, at every age, and at all educational levels. In Connecticut, it has been found that women are paid on average 82 cents for every dollar paid to men. The pay gap is even worse for women of color – black women in Connecticut are paid 58 cents and Hispanic women are paid 47 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.
The legislation is Public Act 18-8. It takes effect on January 1, 2019. The bill was approved by near-unanimous votes in both chambers of the General Assembly, with only five Republicans voting against the bill.
It is one piece in the state’s ongoing efforts on the issue. In 2015, Governor Malloy signed into law legislation that prohibited “pay secrecy” – a practice used by employers to forbid workers from voluntarily revealing their own compensation information among each other. Policies like that have been frequently cited as a hindrance to pinpointing pay discrimination.
“Many factors support ongoing wage inequity. For each that goes unaddressed, women and families bear the brunt of a system stacked against them,” Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman said. “This legislation is a good step toward establishing wage equality and strengthening the economic security of individuals and working families in Connecticut. I commend Representative Robyn Porter and the legislative allies who worked so hard to get this over the finish line. While we have more work to do, this is a great accomplishment.”
“I am pleased that Governor Malloy has signed this legislation on pay equity into law,” State Representative Robyn Porter (D-New Haven) said. “Thank you to my colleagues in the House and Senate, the Governor’s office, and the many phenomenal advocates that helped make this day a reality. Indeed, this law will put the power of negotiating back into women’s hands. Undoubtedly, I am humbled to have served as a catalyst for social and economic change and applaud everyone who played a role in making Connecticut the fifth state to join in the national movement to do right by working women. This law will not only empower women, but will also capacitate communities, businesses, and our economy at-large to flourish and thrive, and for that I am forever grateful.”
“We tell our daughters they can be anything they want when they grow up, and if we’re honest we also warn them that it’s likely they will be unfairly paid their entire career,” State Representative Derek Slap (D-West Hartford) said. “This law will make a real difference by prohibiting the perpetual low-balling of women in the workplace. I’m proud of our coalition that helped to get this done and grateful for Governor Malloy’s support. With his signature, Connecticut will be the fifth state to ban the salary history question – evidence that the land of steady habits can be a national leader.”
“Every resident should receive a fair wage for the work they do, and this legislation is a significant step in the right direction,” Department of Labor Commissioner Scott D. Jackson said. “Wage equity will not only help to ensure that women receive the paycheck they deserve, but we also know that when family incomes increase, the benefits are also felt by our communities and the economy.”
“CWEALF was proud to work with a bipartisan group of lawmakers, advocates and Governor Malloy to champion Public Act 18-8, An Act Concerning Pay Equity,” Kate Farrar, Executive Director of the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF), said. “The elimination of the use of salary history in the job application process is one more step to ensure workers, especially women of color, earn what they’re worth. Pay equity for women is critical to Connecticut’s success – when women succeed, Connecticut prospers.”