LA OKs Rule Aimed at Closing Women’s Wage Gap

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The Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to bar city departments from asking for the salary history of job seekers in a move aimed at closing the wage gap for female workers.

The 13-0 vote directs the Personnel Department to eliminate any questions about salary history from the city’s online application system and hard copy job applications.

Councilwoman Nury Martinez introduced a motion last August asking the city to explore the feasibility of creating a law that would bar the city and employers in the city from asking about salary history, saying it was aimed at helping women’s salaries catch up with those of men.

“An equal day’s work should result in an equal day’s pay. As one of the largest employers in the region, the city of Los Angeles should set the example by paying women in equal pay for the work that they do,” Martinez said before the vote. “And we can bring this by eliminating the salary increase requirement in our city employment application process.”

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At a recent meeting of the City Council’s Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee, some members supported city departments making the change but balked at the idea of forcing all employers in the city to stop asking about salary history.

“From my perspective, I have no concern over setting city policy over what we do. I do have concern, particularly over the legalities, as they are still being tried and tested, in what we do with private employers. I think leading by example is a good thing,” Councilman Mitchell Englander said at the committee meeting.

Martinez said the city would study the impact of the change, and based on its effectiveness, consider expanding it to other employers.

“While we are starting just with the city of Los Angeles, I hope that we move to set the example for other employers throughout the city,” she said.

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