In major step toward achieving pay equity for women and people of color, City agencies will no longer be allowed to inquire about an applicant’s salary history before extending a conditional offer of employment
Under Mayor de Blasio, for first time in City history, women and people of color hold majority of managerial positions in City government
In a major effort to ensure fair employment practices and close the pay gap for women and people of color, Mayor Bill de Blasio today signed Executive Order 21 prohibiting City agencies from inquiring about the salary history of job applicants. Executive Order 21 is the most recent effort by the de Blasio Administration to ensure the families of NYC’s diverse workforce are supported and enabled to thrive. The Mayor also announced his intent to support Intro. 1253, sponsored by Public Advocate Letitia James, which seeks to prevent both public and private employers from inquiring about potential employees’ salary histories. The Mayor and First Lady were joined by senior Administration officials, elected officials, City employees and advocates.
“It’s no secret that throughout our nation’s workforce, women and people of color are, on average, paid less for the same work as their white, male counterparts. As the employer of over 300,000 City workers, I have a responsibility to lead the way in putting an end to that cycle of discrimination,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Women and people of color constitute the majority of our City workforce and a large share of the people of working age in this city. It’s essential to the success of our local government and our city as a whole that everyone is treated – and paid – with the fairness and respect they deserve.”
“Back in 1976, when I graduated from college, women were paid roughly 60 cents for every dollar that men were paid. That means my classmates and I were valued less than our male peers and destined for a lifetime of less income. The disparity in pay is even greater for women of color,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “From the very beginning of our careers, women and men of color have been paid less than our colleagues for the same exact work. The Commission on Gender Equity, which I co-chair, is working hard to address this issue and create a city where everyone is treated equally. Today’s executive order will advance equal pay for equal work in our city, beginning with our hardworking public servants.”
While over 90 percent of the City’s workforce is unionized and paid in accordance with collective bargaining agreements – which have defined salary schedules driving uniformity and equitable pay practices – the City will take additional steps to ensure pay equity across the municipal workforce. A ban on salary inquiries prior to a conditional offer of employment provides a model for other employers in both public and private sectors.
By eliminating questions regarding an applicant’s previous compensation – which is often used as a benchmark from which to determine starting pay in a new position – employers take a vital step to stop perpetuating a cycle of suppressed wages for women and people of color within their workforce.
The Executive Order, which goes into effect , dictates that prior to making a conditional offer of employment, City agencies cannot seek to obtain information regarding an applicant’s salary history either through direct questioning of an applicant or through searches of public records. An applicant’s salary history includes prior wage, salary, benefits or other compensation. The Order allows for City agencies to inquire about previous salary only after making a conditional offer of employment that includes the salary for the job, and solely for the purpose of evaluating an applicant’s representations about their prior employment, such as degree of responsibility or breadth of role.
The Department of Citywide Administrative Services will provide training for Agency Personnel Officers on the appropriate manner in which to ask about the pay history of applicants who have received conditional offers. Personnel Officers will train their Agency Human Resources staff. DCAS will also conduct periodic reviews to ensure that Agency practices comply with this Order and collect relevant data for its reviews.
“Requiring applicants to provide their salary history perpetuates and exacerbates the existing wage gap,” saidCity Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Executive Order 21, which will cover those seeking City employment, is an excellent start for potential City agency workers. While the City Council has already implemented this initiative internally, we will soon be considering additional legislation by Public Advocate James to go even further by prohibiting this practice in the private sector. I thank Mayor de Blasio for taking this essential step toward tackling pay disparities and look forward to a hearing on the bill that will apply it citywide.”
“On the eve of a presidential election when a woman's name is on the ballot, we are still fighting for equal pay for equal work. We know that using salary history is not a fair or necessary means to determine an employee’s wages. This practice perpetuates a cycle of wage discrimination against women. It’s why I introduced legislation, Intro. 1253, earlier this year to ban the use of salary history in the hiring process. I’m proud to join Mayor de Blasio as he announces an Executive Order banning the use of salary history in hiring City employees and I’m grateful the Mayor will support my legislation to ban the use of salary history in both the private and public sectors. We will continue this fight until every single one of our daughters, sisters, mothers, and grandmothers are guaranteed equal pay for equal work,” said Public Advocate James.
Women in New York City continue to earn less than men and are more likely to live in poverty. The income gaps are widest among women of color, older women, immigrants, and women without a high school degree. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, the mean income for women in New York City was equivalent to just 80 percent of what men earned, a gap of $10,470. The report also showed that across the United States, women employed full-time lose a combined total of more than $840 billion each year due to the wage gap. Reports on the gender wage gap vary slightly across the board, but according to 2015 U.S Census Bureau data, women earn approximately 80 cents on the dollar compared to their male counterparts. The problem is even more evident for women of color, compared to what white males make: Black women make 64 cents to every white male dollar, while Latina women make 54 cents, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Black and Latino men across the United States also earn less on average than their white male counterparts. According to the Pew Research Institute, in 2015, black men earned 73 percent of white men’s hourly earnings, while Hispanic men earned 69 percent. This translates to average hourly wages for black and Hispanic men of $15 and $14, respectively, compared with $21 for white men.
For the first time, under the de Blasio Administration, women and people of color now hold more than half – approximately 52 percent – of managerial positions in City government. The Department of Citywide Administrative Services’ data also shows that the majority of City government employees are people of color, representing approximately 61 percent of the total workforce.
Across the de Blasio Administration’s senior leadership – which includes senior cabinet members and the heads of agencies and mayoral offices – women occupy 52 percent of the leadership positions, and 44 percent of the leadership positions are occupied by people of color.
The de Blasio Administration has made meaningful changes to improve the lives of the City’s diverse workforce, including:
- The provision of six weeks of paid time off for maternity, paternity, adoption, and foster care leave, at 100 percent of salary – or up to 12 weeks total when combined with existing leave;
- The expansion of Paid Sick Leave to all businesses with five or more employees.
- Supporting legislation that will allow Paid Sick Leave to be used for purposes of Paid Safe Leave. This amendment would ensure victims, survivors and those who are impacted by domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault offenses are able to take necessary time to rebuild their lives and seek safety while not sacrificing their paychecks or jobs.
- An increase in the minimum wage to $15/hour for all City government employees and employees who provide contracted work for the City at social service organizations;
- Settled contracts with 99 percent of the municipal workforce, compared to zero when Mayor de Blasio took office – bringing salaries for female-dominated fields like teaching and healthcare in line with salary increases previously given to other municipal workers, and providing all City employees with new 7-year contracts that included 10 percent in raises.
- Universal pre-K for All, which has made it possible for thousands of parents to earn a living without sacrificing their children’s early education;
- New guidance from the City’s Human Rights Commission defining violations of pregnancy protections under the NYC Human Rights Law and requiring reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees. The guidance explains how the law ensures pregnant employees are not unfairly terminated, pushed out of the workforce or discriminated against based on their pregnancy.
- The creation of more family-friendly workplaces, including the creation of lactation rooms for new mothers at social service agencies across the city.
- The formation of a first-ever Commission on Gender Equity to leverage the power of City government to expand and increase opportunity for all New Yorkers regardless of sex, gender, or sexual orientation;
- The establishment of the Office of Labor Policies and Standards at the Department of Consumer Affairs to ensure rules, regulations, and laws designed to improve working conditions are enforced properly, and that workers and businesses know and understand those laws.
- The addition of caregiver protections under the New York City Human Rights Law to ensure people providing care to children under the age of 18 and those caring for parents, sibling, spouse, children of any age, grandparent, or grandchild with a disability are protected from employment discrimination, such as being terminated, demoted or denied a promotion because of their status or perceived status as a caregiver.
“Every New Yorker deserves to be paid based on their qualifications for the job,” said Chair and Commissioner of the NYC Commission on Human Rights Carmelyn P. Malalis. “Inquiring about pay history during the hiring process often continues a cycle of pay inequity, which perpetuates lower salaries for women and people of color. The Mayor’s Executive Order today is a crucial step towards ensuring that all New Yorkers seeking employment with City agencies are paid what they are worth, regardless of their age, gender, or race. The Commission looks forward to working with employers, advocates, and elected officials on future efforts to fight employment discrimination throughout the city.”