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Pay transparency law aims to eliminate pay disparities

HONOLULU(KHON2) — A new law going into effect in January aims to eliminate the pay gap in Hawaii. It’s called the Pay Transparency Law. And while many feel it will benefit employees and employers there are some who say it could rock the boat.

Starting January 1st employers with more than 50 employees are required to post the pay range of jobs they advertise.

Senator Chris Lee, who introduced the bill, said there are a number of other states that successfully adopted similar laws.

“I think the the goal of this bill, ultimately, is to provide transparency and fair treatment for workers who are applying for jobs,” Lee explained. “And secondly, ensure that folks like women and other demographics are being paid fairly alongside their peers.”

Lee said having that information out in the open will save everyone time and frustration.

Many in the community do see it as a positive step forward.

“I think its a great idea,” said Alexander Aldridge. “I think that the more transparency with companies on what they’re paying individuals we get a realistic expectation across the board for everyone.”

But he added that it could get off to a rocky start if current workers are being paid less than what a similar job is being posted as.

“I think there could be some morale issues in the work place initially,” he said. “But in the long-term, over the course of years I believe it will probably be more beneficial. You can’t got wrong with transparency.”

But not everyone in the community is for it.

“I feel the men are the leaders and they deserve to get paid more than females,” said Honolulu resident Ylizabeth Lani.

KHON: “So you don’t agree with this then? You don’t think there needs to be any kind of transparency? The way it is is fine?”

“The way things are right now, yes, it is fine,” Lani said.

Senator Karl Rhoads, who supported the law, said it’s about time.

“For years women have gotten paid less to do essentially the same work,” Rhoads explained. “It probably won’t get rid of the entire gap but if it gets rid of five, seven, 10% of it, that’s a good thing.”

Younghee Overly, the AAUW Public Policy chair, said she saw pay disparity first hand when she worked as a manager at a large tech corporation.

“I had two employees doing more or less similar work,” Overly explained. “One was getting paid like $40,000 more.”

She said that it was a man getting paid more and that the situation would have been different if the salary had been listed when the female employee was hired.

Overly said there are benefits for employers too.

“There is research that shows that with pay transparency, there is more loyalty, it’s actually a retention tool,” she explained. “When (people) feel that they are getting paid fairly, there’s a loyalty and they stay put.”



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