During a July 10, 2019 parade held in New York City to celebrate the U.S. women’s national soccer team’s World Cup victory, Governor Cuomo signed into law Senate Bill 5248B and Assembly Bill A8093A, making it unlawful for New York employers to pay employees differently for the same or substantially similar work. This new law is similar to the New Jersey pay equity law, which went into effect in 2018 [Click here for more information on the New Jersey law].

The new legislation, which goes into effect on October 8, 2019, expands existing equal pay protections based on gender to include any class protected under New York law , such as age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, military status, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, familial or marital status, or domestic violence victim status. It also extends existing pay equity provisions to require equal pay for both equal work and “ substantially similar work ”, taking into account skill, effort, responsibility, and similarity of working conditions.

The equal pay mandate does not apply where the pay differential is based on:

  • a seniority system,
  • a merit system,
  • a system based on quantity or quality of production, or
  • a bona fide factor other than status within one or more protected class, such as education, training or experience, where that factor is not derived from a differential in compensation based on protected class status, the factor is job-related and consistent with business necessity, and there is no alternative practice that would serve the same business purpose and not cause a disparate impact on a protected group.

The new law adds a civil penalty of $500 per violation.

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