Lawmakers pass equal pay bill, sending it to Gov. Murphy

March 26, 2018

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey’s Democrat-led Legislature on Monday passed a measure to promote equal pay for workers doing the same job regardless of gender.

Bipartisan majorities in the Assembly and Senate passed the legislation, which now heads to Gov. Phil Murphy. The Democrat has said he would sign equal pay legislation.

The legislation is advancing after years of failed attempts by Democrats to get the bill signed into law. Former Republican Gov. Chris Christie vetoed similar legislation, saying current law covers gender-based pay discrimination and that there was no need for New Jersey to go further than the 2009 Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

Current law bars workplace discrimination based on sex. But the legislation would make it unlawful for employers to discriminate against those protected by current law by paying them less for substantially similar work than those who are not.

Lawmakers hailed the bill’s passage as a step in the right direction.

“Equal pay is vital for hardworking families in New Jersey, many of which increasingly rely on women’s earnings to make ends meet,” Democratic Assemblywoman Joann Downey said in a statement.

The legislation also would bar employer reprisals on workers who disclose information about their jobs, including compensation.

Under the bill, employers entering state contracts also would have to disclose employee information to the state.

The bill passed 35-0 in the Senate and 74-2 in the Assembly.