Gov. Phil Murphy today signed the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act. Enthusiastically supported by NJEA, the law amends New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination by prohibiting an employer from paying a rate of compensation, including benefits, to employees of one sex less than the rate paid to employees of another sex.

NJEA’s officers applauded the governor and the Legislature for making equal pay for equal work the law in New Jersey.

“Equal pay for equal work should be a fundamental right of every person who works for a living,” said NJEA President Marie Blistan. “I’ve advocated for this law for many years, and I’m thrilled that Gov. Murphy is signing it within his first hundred days in office. It’s another promise he’s kept to New Jersey’s working families.”

NJEA Vice President Sean M. Spiller noted that, because of collective bargaining, NJEA has long ensured that equal pay for equal work has been a reality in the state’s public schools, but that more needed to be done to extend equal pay to all workers in the state.

“Prior to the passage of the collective bargaining law for public employees in New Jersey, men were often paid more than women for the same work in our schools,” Spiller said. “The collective bargaining process leveled the playing field for women in public education. It was a civil rights victory when the negotiation of salary, benefits and working conditions became the law in New Jersey in 1968 with strong backing from NJEA.”

NJEA Secretary-Treasurer Steve Beatty remarked that through the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act, the right to equal pay for equal work that public-employee union members already enjoy can be extended to workers statewide.

“As this law is signed, women make 77 cents to every man’s dollar,” Beatty said. “That disparity could not continue, and we applaud Gov. Murphy and the Legislature for taking this important step forward.”

The law is named for former Sen. Diane Allen, who in her previous career as a Philadelphia news anchor faced well publicized bias discrimination based on age and sex.

Sponsors of the legislation include Senate President Steve Sweeney, Sens. Loretta Weinberg and Sandra B. Cunningham, and Assembly members Pamela R. Lampitt, Joann Downey, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Raj Mukherji, Shavonda E. Sumter and Paul D. Moriarty.

The law takes effect July 1.

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