Today, surrounded by women directors of Salt Lake City departments and agencies, Mayor Jackie Biskupski signed a new City policy which aims to eliminate systemic bias and discrimination that adds to the under valuation of work performed by women.
The City’s Gender Pay Equity policy reinforces Salt Lake City’s commitment to equity and diversity, prohibits certain activities which have historically led to gender pay imbalance, and requires Human Resources to conduct regular audits on gender pay equity. Specifically, the policy prohibits individuals participating in City hiring processes from asking an applicant about their current or past salary history.
“Inquiring about an individual’s past salary has historically been a cause of gender pay inequity,” said Julio Garcia, Salt Lake City’s Human Resources Director. “Because women have historically been paid less than men, basing salary decisions on this information, rather than on a similar pay for similar work philosophy, perpetuates a cycle of gender pay inequity.”
A 2017 report by the National Partnership for Women and Families, from data collected by the 2015 U.S. Census American Community Survey, found that Utah women are paid on average 71 cents for every dollar paid to men, amounting to an annual wage gap of $14,681 annually. The study also concluded this wage gap is found in every area of the State and across industry, occupation, and education level.
“The gender pay gap is costing women, children, and families billions of dollars each year, making it harder for people to pay for education, healthcare, housing, and to save for the future,” said Mayor Jackie Biskupski. “Gender pay equity is a family values issue, and as Utah’s Capital City, Salt Lake City has a responsibility to show others in the State how promoting equity, fairness, and diversity benefits our community.”
Last month, the Senate Business and Labor Committee ended discussion of a bill sponsored by Sen. Luz Escamilla which would have studied pay imbalance between men and women at the State level. A bill on paid family leave for state employees also stalled this year. Last year, Mayor Biskupski also instituted a family leave policy, providing City employees regardless of gender or length of service, with six weeks of paid leave. Since that time more than 94 employees have utilized the benefit, including 82 new fathers, many of them with the City’s Police and Fire departments.
The new policy was made effective on March 1, the first day of Women’s History Month. It was championed by City Council Chair Erin Mendenhall who also participated in the ceremonial signing.
“The time is right to press even harder for gender equal pay,” said Erin Mendenhall, City Council Chair. “The list of excuses is long; behaviors entrenched. But no longer do we wait for simple parity on all fronts. Equal pay for equal work, it is that simple.”