Equal Pay Day Events
Equal Pay Day was developed by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) in 1996 as a public awareness event to illustrate the gap between men’s and women’s wages. This date symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year. Because the wage gap is wider for women of color, multiple dates exist corresponding with women belonging to different racial/ethnic groups.
The California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls is proud to partner with the Office of the First Partner on the #EqualPayCA campaign which highlights these issues annually. Dates for Equal Pay Days are based on annual U.S. Census data on median earnings for full-time, year-round workers.
The Equal Pay Day dates for 2022 are:
Know Your Rights
Women’s paychecks should reflect their true value and contributions. In 2015, I was proud to author SB 358 the Fair Pay Act, which was the strongest equal pay legislation in the nation and went on to inspire similar bills in states around the country.
The California Fair Pay Act is designed to promote wage transparency in the workplace and make it easier for workers to bring legal actions against their employers in situations where winners of the opposite sex in the same workplace are paid a higher wage for “substantially similar work”.
Under the California Fair Pay Act, you may ask your co-workers about their wages and salaries. The Act also allows you to disclose your wages with your co-workers even if you were not asked. Your co-workers may also legally ask you what wages you earn. You are not required to answer, but your employer can not prohibit the conversation.
The California Fair Pay Act prohibits your employer from retaliating against you for:
- Discussing your wages with co-workers
- Bringing a legal action seeking compensation for disparate wages
- Exercising any other right under the law
There are many studies that point to the fact that women are paid less, perform more tasks (10-20%) making them more productive, positively contributing to ROI or shareholder value but women continue to be underrepresented in the majority of societal positions of influence.
Retaliation for filling a claim under the California Fair Pay Act is illegal. Your employer may not fire you because you sued under the California Fair Pay Act. They cannot demote you or harass you by masking disparaging comments or assigning you tasks designed to punish you.
If you and your co-worker perform tasks that are completely different from one another, your employer can pay you different wages. Your employer may not face any legal consequences for a wage disparity if it can show the disparity is due to some other factor beyond race and gender.
The California Equal Pay Act also prohibits race or ethnicity-based wage differences. The Act prohibits employers from relying on an employee’s prior salary to justify a sex, race, or ethnicity-based pay difference.
National Women’s Law Center: