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State bill aims to make wages more transparent

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Posted at 6:43 PM, May 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-10 22:36:26-04

A new bill introduced in the State Senate aims to tackle the gender and race pay gap in the State of California.

Introduced by Santa Barbara Senator Monique Limon, Senate Bill 1162 would have three major impacts: 1. It would require companies to disclose salary ranges; 2. It makes any internal promotions available to all employees; and 3. It would make it so pay data reported to the state becomes public over time.

SB 1162 aims to close the pay gap for the groups which see the biggest disparities. Historically, that’s been women and people of color. It would do so by requiring all job postings in California to include the salary range, even on third-party sites.

This would create what Senator Monique Limon calls a more efficient hiring process.

"Many Californians can relate to this. They see jobs and they wonder what the salary range is," she explained. "And that’s what we're trying to do. We're trying to say, just offer a salary range so people know what they’re walking into and how to negotiate."

In the State of California, companies that have 100 employees or more already have to submit pay data reports to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) which cross reference race, ethnicity, and gender.

This bill would build off that by requiring that information to become public over time, depending on number of employees.

Private employers with over 1,000 employees would need to make those reports by 2024. Those with 500 employees by 2025, and those with 250 by 2026.

SB 1162 is met with a force of opposition.

The California State Chamber of Commerce released a statement standing against the bill for several reasons, calling it a "job killer."

Signing on to that statement were several cities and organizations across the state, including the Santa Maria and Paso Robles chambers of commerce.

"The potential litigation here is far beyond… We're setting our employers up for a mess," said Gina Fitzpatrick, President and CEO of the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce.

The Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce said this bill is too difficult or impossible to implement and a legal nightmare.

While they are in favor of wage transparency, they feel the bill needs to be scrapped and rewritten before they sign on in favor.

The San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce said it is not taking a stance on the bill at this time.

The bill is still in the beginning processes of becoming law, meaning it still needs to make its way out of the State Senate and through the State Assembly process. It has until August 31 to make it to the governors desk and, if it does, he’ll have a month to decide whether or not to sign it into law.