NCJW is a partner in A Stronger California, a visionary collaboration among the California women’s legislative caucus and many leading women’s organizations and advocates. The collaborative’s efforts to improve the lives of women and children through legislative advocacy are focused on four pillars or issues:
Fair pay and job opportunity
Access to childcare
Family friendly workplaces
Building economic stability by addressing poverty
In 2015, the collaborative achieved a significant victory when Senate Bill 358, authored by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, was signed by Governor Brown. California now has the strongest equal pay law in the country. The new law grants employees important new rights and imposes new duties and obligations on employers. It prohibits an employer from paying any of its employees at wages less than those paid to employees of the opposite sex for substantially similar work. It requires the employer to affirmatively demonstrate that a wage differential is based on specified factors, including a seniority system, a merit system, a system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production, or a bona fide factor other than sex.
The law also prohibits an employer from discharging, or in any manner discriminating or retaliating against, any employee by reason of any action taken by the employee to enforce the rights granted employees under this law. The new law also includes strong remedies. An employee who has been discharged or discriminated or retaliated against because the employee engaged in any of the conduct covered by the law to be reinstated and recover reimbursement for lost wages benefits, including interest, in a civil lawsuit. The law also prohibits an employer from refusing to allow an employee to disclose the employee's own wages, discuss the wages of others, ask about another employee's wages, or help or encourage any other employee to exercise his or her rights under this new law. California’s guarantee of equal pay for substantially equal work is a model for the nation.