Salary Transparency, Working to Bridge the Gap

the Community Fund for Women & Girls

Salary negotiations can have an impact on a woman's life for decades.

On October 1, 2021 the state took another step toward closing the gender wage gap with “An Act Concerning Salary Range for a Vacant Position,” says Madeline Granato, Policy Director at the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF). The new law states “employers must provide job applicants salary ranges for vacant positions.” The law also allows current employees to request the salary range for the job they hold.

In addition, the law changes the wording from “equal pay for equal work” to “equal pay for comparable work” to better reflect the realities of the modern workplace. Employees will receive equal pay for work that requires “substantially similar skill, effort and responsibility and is performed under similar working conditions.”

Being aware of the salary range for an open position and not having to state the salary an applicant is currently earning are viewed as major steps toward wage equity. Granato notes that in public sector jobs where salaries are posted, the wage gap quickly levels off.

“Since women, specifically women of color, are already paid significantly less, they would need to ask for a very large percentage increase to be on par with their white, non-Hispanic male colleagues,” Granato says. “This, compounded by unconscious and implicit bias that labels women as less likeable or desirable candidates when they negotiate the salary they deserve, contributes to a cycle where women continue to be underpaid and undervalued.”

In its report on wage inequity, the National Women’s Law Center stated that closing the wage gap is crucial for women who are just starting out in the workforce because the difference in earnings undercuts a woman’s “ability to provide for herself and her family as well as her retirement security.”

The new law builds on others passed in recent years in Connecticut to bridge the wage gap. In 2015, the state passed a law saying employees could not be retaliated against for talking about their salaries with other employees. In 2018, the state passed a law prohibiting the use of salary history in the job application process and the next year the state passed legislation for a comprehensive paid family and medical leave program, considered one of the strongest in the country.

The Community Fund for Women & Girls is a long supporter of organizations, including CWEALF, that advocate for wage equity.

This article is part of the Winter 2021 edition of The Community Fund for Women & Girls' newsletter.