We just got word that the Pay Equity Act bill, promising equal pay for women will be coming up at this Thursday’s Senate Session (Feb 11). Please write or call your local senator and ask him/her to support this important bill. Please share this with members of your congregation and encourage them to write as well.
S922, the New Jersey Pay Equity Act, sponsored by Senator Loretta Weinberg, is one of the most comprehensive pay equity bills pending in state legislatures around the nation. In New Jersey, women earn 80 cents on the dollar compared with 79 cents nationally, despite national legislation such as the Lilly Ledbetter Act of 2009. States around the nation are recognizing the persistence of wage discrimination and taking similar legislative approach and remedy as New Jersey. For women of color the situation is even more dire, with African-American women earning 64 cents, and Latinas only 56 cents, for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.
The bill will give women formidable tools to combat pay discrimination and remedy an injustice that has gone on for far too long. With a growing number of New Jersey women responsible for supporting their families, pay equity is not only a matter of justice for themselves, but also a matter of economic security for their families.
The New Jersey Pay Equity Act :
- Requires companies with public contracts to disclose info about the compensation by Sex (and race too) of all employees;
- Expands the previously established prohibition against paying women less who are in identical jobs as men, to include jobs that are similar or comparable;
- Establishes triple damages to employers who violate the law and discriminate against women;
- Allowing employees the right to tell each other what they earn without fear of retribution from employers, prohibits employers from making people sign a contract in which they are sworn not to disclose their compensation to co-worker;
- Extending the time in which a discrimination lawsuit can be taken (expands the statute of limitations) by making every paycheck an possible offense, thus restarting the clock on statute of limitations every time someone is paid.
S-799 for earned sick leave will also be called. An earned sick days law would benefit New Jersey’s working families, businesses, and the community as a whole.Enactment of a statewide earned sick days law in New Jersey is an economic and moral imperative for all families in our state. It is for this reason that UULMNJ has partnered with Working Families United for New Jersey, Inc. – a coalition of over 256 union, community, progressive, and faith organizations – and is diligently working to ensure passage of this legislation.
Thanks to the unwavering resolve of our coalition partners, we were able to secure passage of landmark legislation including Paid Family Leave and the minimum wage increase. This same commitment will ensure we are successful when it comes to earned sick days.
Laurice Grae-Hauck is the Outreach Coordinator of the Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of NJ.