The California State Assembly recently approved SB 1063 by , which will create the strongest wage equality law in the nation by prohibiting employers from paying a worker less than their co-worker based upon their race or ethnicity. The measure was approved on a bipartisan vote of 56 to 12.
Despite being the most diverse and prosperous state in the nation, many California workers continue to suffer from a chronic racial and ethnic wage gap. Data released by the National Women’s Law Center in April of 2016 found that African American women make only 83 cents for every dollar Caucasian women make, Latinas make 57 cents for every dollar Caucasian women make and African American men earn just 75 cents for every dollar Caucasian men make.
In 2015, California began to address wage inequality by prohibiting an employer from paying an employee a different wage than their co-worker of the opposite sex for substantially similar work. That legislation failed to include protections for race or ethnicity.
“As California continues to grow and diversify, large segments of our state’s minority population are facing devastating economic inequality,” said Senator Isadore Hall, III. “No employee should be denied an equal wage for an equal day of work. Today’s Assembly passage of my SB 1063 builds upon the important steps California has taken to address wage inequality and will set a new national standard to ensure that every worker is paid a fair and equitable wage.”
SB 1063 now returns to the State Senate to concur on technical amendments made in the Assembly before heading to Governor Jerry Brown for final action.