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Bill would close state contractors’ pay gap

A bill announced this week would require equal pay for equal work from companies that want to do business with the state of New York.

The bill, drafted by Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) and Assembly Member Deborah Glick (D-Manhattan), would make companies submit equal pay reports – broken down by gender, race and ethnicity – as a condition to winning a bid on a state contract.

Sonia Ossorio, president of the National Organization for Women of New York, says it would make companies assess whether they are paying their employees fairly.

“It’s a lever that the state has, and therefore, that taxpayers have, to take a look at pay inequality issues and try to deal with them,” she says.

The bill would use the same occupational categories as the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, but would not apply to companies with fewer than 100 employees.

Ossorio says it would complement the New York Fair Pay Act, passed by the Legislature last spring. She adds that more needs to be done, such as addressing the wage differences between job categories.

“In schools, janitors are paid more than teachers’ aides,” she says. “One is very male-dominated, one is very female-dominated.”

According to Ossorio, women in New York are currently paid an average of 86 cents for every $1 a man is paid for the same work. That falls to 66 cents for African-American women and 54 cents for Latinas.