Time to end gender pay disparities
Last week, Citigroup announced its decision to increase compensation for women and minorities to bridge pay gaps here in the United States, becoming the first big U.S. bank to respond to a shareholder push to analyze, disclose and remediate any gender pay gaps.
I, too, have been doing what I can legislatively to narrow the gender wage gap in the workforce here in Illinois. Last year, I filed Senate Bill 1039, which would make it illegal for employers to ask their employees or job applicants about their previous wage or salary history. Employers asking for salary history is a major factor that contributes to women continuing to make less than men in the workplace while performing the same job.
I have refiled this legislation, which is identical to a law passed in Massachusetts in 2016 that not only makes it illegal to inquire about a prospective employee or former employer's salary history, but it also seeks to promote the use of employer-driven self-evaluation plans so that individual employers can monitor their pay practices and seek to fix any wage disparity that's not based on merit, seniority, production, or level of education.
In essence, my proposal encourages companies to follow Citigroup's model by incentivizing the marketplace to conduct the analysis and remediate any gender wage disparities.
Although my bill was not given a hearing last year, I have refiled this legislation with the hope that my Senate Democrat colleagues will allow this important legislation to be heard in a committee this spring. Discrimination in the workplace will persist until we bridge the gender pay gap, making equal pay and pay transparency the status quo.
Sen. Michael Connelly