(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assemblywomen Nancy Pinkin, Gabriela Mosquera and Pamela Lampitt to establish a 12-member commission to study and report on gender-based pay discrimination throughout various sectors of the New Jersey economy was released by an Assembly panel on Thursday.
According to a report issued this fall by the American Association of University Women, in 2015, women working full-time in the United States typically were paid just 80 percent of what men were paid in 2015, a gap of 20 percent.
“Studying the extent, the causes and effects of gender-based pay discrimination will lead to recommendations that will increase efforts to end this type of discriminatory practice in New Jersey,” said Pinkin (D-Middlesex). “As a result of the commission’s work, we will be able to more effectively enforce antidiscrimination laws and use other measures to improve opportunities for the advancement of women in the workplace.”
The bill (A-2685) would establish the Study Commission on Gender Pay Discrimination within the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. The commission consists of 12 members, including three state officials, who are nonvoting members, four public appointments made by the Senate and Assembly, and five public members appointed by the Governor representing the Center for Women and Work at Rutgers, the State University, and two representatives each of business and labor organizations.
“Many women are head of their households, the sole provider of their families,” said Mosquera (D-Camden, Gloucester). “To earn, nearly 20 cents on the dollar less than a male counterpart is insulting and is attributing to the economic hardship of many New Jersey families.”
“To think we have to continue to have this conversation on pay equity after the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 is appalling,” said Lampitt (D-Camden, Burlington). “Unfortunately, we do have to have these conversations. Creating a study commission to get to the bottom of the gender pay gap is the first step and using those findings to end pay inequity in this state once and for all is next.”
The commission would be directed to report its finding and recommendations to the Governor and to the Legislature within two years of the appointment of a majority of the public members of the commission.
The bill was approved by the Assembly Women and Children Committee and will now go to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.