Assemblywoman Fletcher Wins Approval For First-In-The-Nation Laws On Gender Pay Gap Transparency

SACRAMENTO–California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) Wednesday won victories in the Assembly Labor Committee for a trio of innovative, first-in-the-nation laws that will benefit millions of California workers. The committee voted in favor of Assembly Bills 5, 1099 and 1209. 

“I’m very grateful to my colleagues for the strong support they’ve shown for these ideas. We need to do better by workers, whether it’s women who are being paid less than their male peers, or rideshare drivers in the gig economy.” Assemblywoman Gonzalez Fletcher said.

The Labor Committee considered and approved three measures that address significant financial barriers to working people. The first measure, AB 5, is the Opportunity to Work Act. It requires companies to offer full-time status to part-time employees before hiring more part time employees. According to the Employee Development Department, 912,000 part-time workers in California are classified as “involuntary-part time” workers, meaning they remain in part-time positions despite their willingness and ability to work full-time because their employers choose to hire additional part-time workers instead of offering hours to existing workers.

“Even as we’ve won increases in the minimum wage to help part-time workers, that just won’t cut it if you can’t get enough hours of work,” said Assemblywoman Gonzalez Fletcher. “The Opportunity to Work Act will provide a boost to the millions of workers in California who want to work more so they can afford the necessities of life and to take care of themselves and their families.”

The Committee also voted to approve AB 1099, which requires companies in certain industries, such as the ridesharing industry, that accept credit card payment for services must also provide the option of credit card tips for service providers. As many as two million Californians have a job in the gig economy, and according to the Pew Research Center, more than half (56 percent) of those employees rate the income from their job as “essential or important” to their finances.

“Most people don’t carry cash anymore, so when a company decides that it won’t allow its customers to tip with their card, they’re making a decision to take away income from their front-line employees. If a person can pay with a credit card, they should be able to tip with a credit card” Assemblywoman Gonzalez Fletcher said.

The final measure approved by the Committee, AB 1209, is the Gender Pay Gap Transparency Act. It requires large companies to report their salary data by gender and classification to the Secretary of State, who will then post the data online. Similar laws have been passed in the United Kingdom, Austria, Sweden and Belgium.

“The gender pay gap is real, and women are struggling because of it. Making companies disclose how well or poorly they compensate the women who work for them will show where their values are, and consumers will respond accordingly” said Assemblywoman Gonzalez Fletcher. “Without real data in black and white, we can’t take ‘equal pay for equal work’ from a goal to reality.”

Each bill will next be considered by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

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