New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently signed Executive Orders 161 and 162 to strengthen equal pay protection and eliminate gender wage gap. The two new executive orders are going to require businesses within New York state to carefully analyze the costs of their workforce and determine if there is anything that would put them in jeopardy of scrutiny from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Executive Order 161 targets hiring practices, specifically interview questions, practiced in New York. State agencies are prohibited from asking applicants about their current or previous salaries before a conditional offer of employment with compensation is made.
Executive Order 162 requires state contractors and subcontractors to submit the following information to the state: job title, salary of each employee, and equal employment information such as sex, race, and ethnicity. Contractors with prime contracts over $25,000 must report on a quarterly basis, and contracts exceeding $100,000 must report on a monthly basis. These reporting requirements begin for all contracts issued or executed on June 1.
These executive orders by Gov. Cuomo are the first of many to follow as the Governor rolls out his agenda called “The New York Promise.” Speaking of this promise, Gov. Cuomo said, “At these stormy times of instability and confusion, New York must serve as a safe harbor for the progressive principles and social justice that made America. We will hold the torch high to light the way toward opportunity, because that is New York’s promise. This promise is not just in words but in actions and we will push even further to advance the social progress we have made and continue the fight.”
Some other items on the agenda include: reforming the criminal justice system, eliminating the wage gap, expanding opportunities to immigrants, combating hate crimes, and encouraging tolerance.
With June 1st not far away, businesses can begin preparing now for the implementation of the executive orders. Having a system to track which employees have state contracts and monitoring their pay with accurate data will make submitting information to the state a smooth process.
Businesses should also review their company policies to ensure that there are no complications with EEOC requirements for equal pay.
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