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California Governor Signs Bill to Close the Wage Gap

Yesterday, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the California Fair Pay Act. “The inequities that have plagued our state and have burdened women forever are slowly being resolved with this kind of bill,” Brown said.

The bill, which Browns office says is “among the strongest in the nation,” prohibits employees from facing retaliation for discussing their pay rates at work.

In fact, it allows workers to challenge discrepancies in pay between employees doing similar or the same jobs at different locations, for the same company.

According to Equal Rights Advocates, just two years ago, a woman in California made about 84 cents for every dollar a man earned. As a group, women who are employed full-time in the state lose over $33 billion annually due to the wage gap. Brown and supporters hope to even the playing field with the initiation of this bill.

This piece of legislation has been in the works since February, but recently plans turned into action. Democratic Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson said the bill was long overdue.

“The time is now. It isn’t just the right thing for California women. It’s also the right thing for our economy and for California,” Jackson said.

“Fair pay” is just one of many reforms pushed by the state’s Legislative Women’s Caucus. Others aim to make workplace scheduling more accommodating to families and to increase aid to infants and children.