Assembly Committee Advances Equal Pay Legislation

Bill would make it illegal for employers to pay women — including pregnant women — less for doing the same job as men

The Assembly Labor Committee is considering what would be the nation’s toughest pay-equity law.

The bill makes it illegal for employers to pay women, including pregnant women, less for doing “substantially similar work, when viewed as a composite of skill, effort and responsibility.” Victims could be awarded up to six years of back pay with triple damages.

The bill also makes it possible for employees to actually discuss and compare wages and seek legal advice without fear of retaliation. Women told the committee they sometimes didn’t know their coworkers’ comparative salaries or faced reprisals for daring to ask about it.

Women, on average, currently earn 80 cents for every dollar a man makes. For the average New Jersey salary, that’s a $12,000 annual wage gap.

“Over a 40-year career, you could be earning $450,000 less than a man,” said Assemblywoman Pam Lampitt.

Original Article