Washington, DC – Tomorrow, Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie (D – Ward 5) along with Councilmember Mary Cheh (D – Ward 3) will introduce legislation to increase pay equity and transparency by prohibiting retaliation against employees for discussing their wages and eliminating wage non-disclosure agreements, or so-called “pay secrecy” policies. The bill’s introduction coincides with the annual recognition of Equal Pay Day – the day that symbolizes how far into 2014 women must work to earn what men earned in 2013, on average.
The “Wage Transparency Amendment Act of 2014” enables employees to freely discuss their wages without fear of termination, discipline, interference, or other forms of retaliation by their employers. Nationwide, nearly one-quarter of private-sector employees work in settings where discussion of compensation is formally prohibited. The bill also bans “pay secrecy” policies in private and public sector employment. Such policies prevent employees from discovering instances of discrimination.
“We are fortunate in the District to have the smallest pay gap between women and men, with women earning 90 cents, on average, for every dollar earned by men,” said McDuffie. “But when we look more closely, we see that the District fares much worse for certain populations: we rank 48th in the country for African-American women at 55 cents and 43rd for Latinas at 48 cents. There are many factors that contribute to this gap,” said McDuffie, “and unfortunately, a lack of wage transparency is one.”
To further reduce the pay gap, the bill instructs the DC Department of Human Resources to annually report the salaries of District government employees, without identifying information, by agency, position, gender, and race. The bill also tasks the DC Department of Employment Services with submitting strategic plans to reduce wage disparities in private and public sector employment. “We have a responsibility to examine our own practices and set a course for equality,” said McDuffie.
The bill comes on the heels of President Barack Obama’s announcement over the weekend that he will take executive action to prohibit federal contractors from retaliating against workers who discuss their compensation and to collect data on compensation by gender and race. The “Paycheck Fairness Act”, currently under consideration in the U.S. Senate, contains similar protections, as do a growing number of state laws.
For more information, please visit www.kenyanmcduffie.com or contact our office at (202) 724-8028. Follow Councilmember McDuffie at twitter.com/CM_McDuffie and on facebook.com/KenyanRMcDuffie