I am responding to The Post-Journal editorial which ran May 17: "Enforce Existing Fair Pay Laws." As stated in The Post-Journal's May 9 article, the facts of the NYS Fair Pay Act (A06130A) have been misunderstood.
First, the AAUW applauds The Post-Journal for demanding that the current laws be enforced, but if enforcement were enough, the pay gap would not exist. This Fair Pay Act also needs to be enacted so that women can receive the pay they are owed for the work they are already doing in jobs of comparable value and worth.
It is incorrect to state that "The bill would impose state regulations telling businesses with more than four employees which jobs are 'equal' and so must be paid the same." There is nothing in this Fair Pay Act that takes salary-setting out of the hands of employers. Employers currently define their job classes/titles and set their own salary schedules; they will continue to do so after the Fair Pay legislation is enacted.
The difference? An employer must put a gender and racial neutral system in place to serve as the basis for their decision-making. Such systems have been used in large businesses like hospitals for over 70 years to compare positions like physical therapist and lab technician - different jobs that can be evaluated using neutral criteria like level of education and experience required, value to the employer, scope of responsibility, human resource and communication skills, management and supervision responsibilities, and working conditions.
The Post-Journal's editorial was called "Enforce Existing Fair Pay Laws," but the reason for the Paycheck Fairness Act is that our existing law, the Equal Pay Act, has such a limited scope. It fails to cover wage discrimination based on race and it fails to provide equal pay for jobs that are comparable but not identical. It excludes equity for part-time workers and prohibits groups of workers from filing class action suits. In addition this bill protects employees who share their compensation rates with fellow employees without fear of retaliation by their employer. As Lilly Ledbetter learned, if you don't know what your peer is earning, you don't know you are being cheated.
The bottom line is that we all need to work together to address this stubborn inequality. The pay gap still exists. This Fair Pay Act needs to be enacted so that women and minorities can receive the pay they are owed for the work they are already doing in jobs of comparable value and worth.