Changes to the California’s Fair Pay Act

For a short time now, the state of California has had the Fair Pay Act which restricted the employers from remunerating its employees less than the personnel of contrasting sex for the same amount of workload. The governor of California, on October 6, 2015, signed into law the California Fair Pay Act which was aimed at strengthening the equal pay for workers in a several ways.

Among other things, the law under the Fair Pay Act requires that; that there be equal pay for employees who carry out a substantially similar work merited on abilities, hard work, and accountability. That there is non-requirement of employees to be comparing work at the equivalent institution; that the employers must use sex to satisfy the bona fide factor; and ensuring that the positive factors relied upon by the employer are rationally accounted for the total pay difference.

Moreover, the act requires that, vengeance to counter employees who seek legal redress is illegal and that employees are also barred from conversing or questioning about their co-workers’ remunerations. The years that an employee had to maintain the wage and other employment-related records is also extended from two to three years.

On September 30th, 2016 amendment was made to the Equal pay act by the signing of two major bills into law.

  • SB 1063 which further included race and ethnicity as protected classifications. It requires the employer to pay its employees equally notwithstanding the sex, race or ethnicity for considerably parallel work.
  • AB 1676 which restricts the employees from mitigating gender, race or ethnicity-based pay variances exclusively on the grounds of the previous salary.



Frequently Asked Questions


When does the Fair Pay Act take effect?

The amendment by SB1063 and AB 1676 took effect in January 2017.


What does the California Fair Pay Act provide?

The amendment demands that the employer should pay an equal amount of wages to all its employees regardless of sex, race or the other’s ethnic background for substantially similar work but skills, efforts, and responsibility carried out under identical working conditions.


Under the law, what needs to be proved for a claim on equal pay act?

The affected employee must prove that he/she is being paid a salary of less amount compared to other employee’s opposite sex, ethnicity or race who are executing a substantially similar work.


What does “substantially similar work” mean?

Work carried out in the same working conditions that are entirely analogous in skills, efforts, and responsibility.

Under the Act, the aggrieved party is at liberty to apply for any claim in so far as his/her rights have been infringed but the application is limited to two years from the date of violation. In the case of intentional abuse, the applicant, employee, must file within three years. The aggrieved party may file the claim before the Labor Commissioner’s office or in a court of law.