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CA Controller Urges Governor to Sign Legislation to Help Eliminate Gender Pay Disparity

Contact: JOHN HILL
(916) 445-2636

SACRAMENTO — State Controller Betty T. Yee today urged Governor Jerry Brown to sign into law a measure that will finally “move the needle on gender pay disparity” – some 66 years after California’s Equal Pay Act was first enacted.

Controller Yee, just the tenth woman elected to statewide office in California, offered her “enthusiastic support” for Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson’s Senate Bill 358, writing in a letter to Governor Brown that the 1949 Act – while well-intended – has yet to even the playing field.

“As millions of California women are all far too aware, the simple words of the statute have not led to equal dollars in their paychecks,” Yee wrote.

Yee, the state’s chief fiscal officer, described as “shameful” the fact that women in California earn just 84 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts.  For women of color, the pay gap is even greater, with African-American women earning just 64 cents for every dollar earned by white men, and Latina women bringing home just 44 cents.

Senate Bill 358 would make it significantly easier for women to raise the issue of pay disparity without fear of retribution.  It also would remove antiquated provisions from the original Equal Pay Act, such as a rule stating that pay comparisons only apply to men and women working in the same building.  Under the measure, disparity in pay must be based strictly on substantive factors, such as experience and quality of work.  Without these needed changes, the pay gap is not expected to close until 2058.