Fresno, CA – Late Sunday Governor Brown vetoed a proposal on his desk that would have required California businesses with more than 500 employees to report to the state separate gender pay in their businesses. The bill’s author claimed the bill would provide the transparency needed to close the gender pay gap.
Assembly Bill 1209 was supported by both California houses having been passed in the California Senate and Assembly, but Gov. Brown had reservations that this law, as written, would result in the closing the gender pay gap as it’s authors had suggested.
In a statement from Governor Brown, he shared his thought that AB 1209 was vague in it’s design and could prove to spur more litigation versus more pay equity, “This bill would require employers with 500 or more employees in California to provide to the Secretary of State specific information regarding gender wage differentials for exempt employees and board members. I have strongly supported polices that ensure women are compensated equitably and will continue to do so. While transparency is often the first step to addressing an identified problem, it is unclear that the bill as written, given its ambiguous wording, will provide data that will meaningfully contribute to efforts to close the gender wage gap. Indeed, I am worried that this ambiguity could be exploited to encourage more litigation than pay equity.”
Brown says the Pay Equity Task Force will continue to work to enforce the Equity Pay Act that was signed in 2015 and work to assist companies in the state to assess their current wage practices.
AB 1209 was fiercely opposed by the business community and the California Chamber of Commerce had labeled it a ‘job killer.’ A designation that the agency gives to any proposed legislation it deems counter productive to California businesses.
The bill’s author Lorena Gonzales Fletcher, a Democrat from San Diego, known for her efforts to pass the new state minimum wage requirements and the new overtime law last year, was disappointed with the Governor’s veto and ‘tweeted’ out her concerns on social media, “Policies that tinker on the edges will help, but until real transparency, we’ll spend decades tackling #GenderPayGap.” She went on to tweet, “That means my 21-year-old daughter will face wage inequities based on her gender. That’s not good enough. We are far from done and we will be bringing legislation next year to further address the #GenderPayGap.”
Stay tuned on this effort.
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