Q&A: How A New Law Aims to Address Pay Inequity

NBC Universal, Inc.

October 1 is fast approaching, and several new state laws go into effect. One of those is a law that requires employers to disclose a salary range to prospective employees. It's something that could have a major impact on equity in the workforce.

Nina Pirrotti, a partner and employment attorney with Garrison Law, sat down with NBC Connecticut's Dan Corcoran to discuss what the law is supposed to do.

Pirrotti: "Connecticut is at the very forefront of pay equity. And that is very exciting here. The law is simply designed to put women on notice as to whether or not they're being paid equal to their male counterparts. And it gives them the opportunity to actually find that information out right out of the gate. Now, women will have that information right from the get go. And I think that puts them at a tremendous advantage."

Dan: "Obviously, it's nice to have an idea of what the salary range is going to be for a particular job. But it also sounds like this law does more than that. And you just alluded to it, this is also a step to help eliminate gender or race-based pay gaps, right?"

Pirrotti: "It's really very exciting from this respect as well, because what this law does, is it changes the standard of proof for women employees who want to go into court and prove that they're being treated unfairly from the pay perspective, the law in the past required women to prove that their work was equal to that the male counterpart that they were claiming was being paid more than that. Now, this new law says that all they have to do is show that their work is comparable to that man. Now, she has that information from the get go. And now she also has the opportunity to show that book just because our jobs aren't identical, doesn't mean they are meaningfully comparable, in terms of skill set in terms of experience. And in terms of responsibility."

Dan: "Nina, there's already an equal pay act that requires men and women to get paid the same for the same job. But we all know, that's not always the case. So here in Connecticut, a woman earns on average about 83 cents to every dollar that a man makes. That's according to the Lamont Administration. That's a gap of about $11,000 every year, and Black and Latina women earn even less about 63 cents and 54 cents per dollar the state says, so how is this new wage transparency law, gonna make a difference for them?

Pirrotti: "I see this as a win-win for both the employee and the employer. The goal is to avoid the lawsuit altogether. Right. Employers have until October one to re-evaluate how they are paying their employees to look down deep and determine whether or not for the same or comparable jobs. They are paying their women and their men equally. They can discover their mistakes now they could rectify them now and they can get ready with salary ranges that make sense based upon objective criteria, and not based upon anything else like gender."

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