September 16, 2015
On August 31, 2015, the California Senate unanimously passed (39-0) Senate Bill 358, the California Fair Pay Act (CFPA), and sent the bill to the desk of Governor Jerry Brown, who intends to sign it into law. The purpose of the CFPA is to strengthen the 1949 California Equal Pay Act by closing gaps in the existing law, which have resulted in a significant differential in pay for women as opposed to men. As of 2013 in California, women made only 84 cents for every dollar earned by a man.
The CFPA substantially broadens and strengthens protections for women in the workforce. The bill’s primary provision calls for women to be paid the same as men for “substantially similar work” rather than the “same” job, subject to a few limited exceptions. Now, employers (and courts) will be required to look more critically at factors such as the similarities in skill, responsibility, and effort required to perform a job when determining whether men and women should be paid the same when engaged in similar jobs. Other changes to the law include increasing recording keeping requirements from two to three years and adding an anti-retaliation provision to protect employees who inquire about how much their co-workers earn. Importantly, the CFPA also does away with the same location requirement.

For more information on the CFPA’s amendments to law, please click here.