Equal Pay Ordinance: Year One Report 2015

December 30, 2015 - 12:04pm

The San Francisco Equal Pay OrdinanceClick Here to read a copy of the Report

A Milestone for San Francisco 

Women are consistently paid less than men in almost every occupation. The persistent disparity in pay between men and women is known as the gender wage gap.  In California, women earn only 84 cents for every dollar earned by men, collectively losing over $33.6 billion dollars each year to the gender wage gap.  This gap is far worse for women of color.  A Latina woman in California makes only 44 cents for every dollar a white man makes, the biggest gap for Latina women in the nation.    
Discriminating against certain employees by paying them less than other workers can lead to long-term economic insecurity and has negative effects on San Francisco’s economic and social fabric.  Due in significant part to a lack of pay transparency, previous laws have failed to address pay inequality and wage discrimination in a meaningful way.  Like federal and state governments, the City and County of San Francisco (“the City") has enacted laws that expressly prohibit discrimination based on sex, race, or other protected classes, yet wage gaps persist everywhere.   

Through its new Equal Pay Ordinance, San Francisco will be the first jurisdiction in the nation to require its contractors to file pay equity reports that provide data on employee compensation, race, and gender.  Authored by Supervisor David Campos, the Equal Pay Ordinance was passed unanimously by the Board of Supervisors on December 9, 2014.   Signed by Mayor Edwin Lee, the Ordinance amends Chapter 12B of the San Francisco Administrative Code, which prohibits discrimination in City contracting.  With this milestone legislation, San Francisco’s voice enters the national dialogue on pay equality and wage discrimination.   

About the Equal Pay Ordinance 
The Equal Pay Ordinance requires certain contractors to file Equal Pay Reports annually with the City’s Human Rights Commission.  It established an Equal Pay Advisory Board to analyze and recommend how to collect wage gap data in a meaningful way while maintaining a minimal burden on contractors reporting the data.  The Human Rights Commission (“HRC”) is authorized to investigate whether discrimination is occurring by contractors and recommend measures for enforcement when necessary.    


The Promise of the Equal Pay Ordinance 

The Equal Pay Ordinance is a step toward achieving pay equality and improving economic stability in San Francisco.  Effective implementation of the Ordinance may reduce wage gaps that are intentionally or unintentionally caused by discrimination by enabling the HRC to pursue investigations when wage gaps are identified.  Wage gaps may also be reduced simply by requiring employers to collect and report certain data to the City, as they will become aware of the presence of wage gaps within their companies.  The Ordinance may also empower individual employees to speak up if they believe there is wage discrimination occurring within their organizations.   
San Francisco’s equal pay model will improve the quality of wage gap data that is publicly available to researchers and policymakers throughout the nation.  Better data can lead to better laws and employment practices, thereby advancing the goal of pay equality throughout the nation.

Click Here to read a copy of the Report