Governor Cuomo Signs Executive Orders Intended to Eliminate Wage Gap

With the gender wage gap only improving by 8% in the last 20 years, New York Governor Andrew
Cuomo signed two executive orders aimed at decreasing the wage gap between men and women. The executive orders which were signed on January 11, 2017 come at a time where New York State women are making only 89% of their male counterparts. Women of color see the largest gap in wages as compared to their white male counterparts. By the signing of the two executive orders governor Cuomo hopes to level the playing field for women who are applying for new jobs.

The first executive order labeled “Executive Order 161” mandates that state entities are prohibited from requesting or requiring an applicant to disclose his or her previous compensation or prior wage history until a conditional offer of employment with compensation has been made. The executive order realizes the current wage gap that exists in New York, and recognizes that employers that ask for prior compensation may offer wages consistent with prior salaries thus contributing to the wage gap. Agencies that are already in possession of an applicant’s prior compensation are prohibited from relying on it in determining the applicant’s salary unless it is required by law or a collective bargaining agreement.

The second executive order labeled “Executive Order 162” places a requirement on New York government contractors to include in their agreements and procurements provisions the job title and salary for each employee working on a state contract. Additionally, contractors must include information such as gender, race, and ethnicity. The information must be reported to state agencies every three months for all contracts exceeding $25,000, and every month for contracts in excess of $100,000. The order seeks to increase transparency and advance pay equity statewide.

Training on the new requirements and measures will be provided by the governor’s Office of Employee Relations. In addition, the office is tasked with the monitoring of employers to assure compliance with the regulation. The orders were accompanied by a package of reforms signed by Governor Cuomo which he described as being aimed “at advancing social justice and progressive values to combat all forms of discrimination.”

Navigating the ever-changing regulatory laws surrounding business practices can be difficult and time-consuming for New York business owners. It is important that employers consult the guidance of an experienced New York business law attorney who is knowledgeable in local, state and federal regulations and can help you implement strategic business practices to stay in compliance with the law and avoid fines. To contact the New York business law attorneys at Blodnick Fazio & Associates, PC, call (516) 280-7105.


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