Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Pamela Lampitt, Gabriela Mosquera, Gordon Johnson, Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Daniel Benson to help bridge the gender wage gap in the workplace was approved 50-27 by the full Assembly on Monday.
The bill (A-1444), known as the Wage Transparency Act, would require employers contracting with the state to disclose demographic and other information about each employee, such as his or her gender, race, job title and total compensation. Upon request, the Division on Civil Rights in the Department of Law and Public Safety would be required to grant an employee access to the information.
"Hopefully, by empowering employees and holding employers more accountable, we can chip away at the remaining fragments of the glass ceiling," said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). "The more knowledge we have, the better we'll be able to fight gender pay inequity and discrimination, and ensure everyone is treated equally under the law."
"New Jersey prides itself on being an equal opportunity employer," said Mosquera (D-Camden/Gloucester). "While we can't regulate private corporations, we can - and, rightfully so, will - regulate contractors doing business with the state."
"Transparency is the best way to fight discrimination," said Johnson (D-Bergen). "Employees have little way of defending themselves against discrimination - whether it is based on gender, race or age - unless they know what their counterparts are making."
"Knowledge is power. And in the continued fight for gender pay equity, this is one more tool to help women battle, and hopefully overcome, this ongoing discrimination," said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen).
"Absent a comprehensive federal equal pay law, we need to keep doing all we can at the state level to help eliminate continued wage disparities," said Benson (Mercer/Middlesex). "This is one area where the state has the ability to exercise its power in the interest of equality."
The bill now heads to the senate for consideration.