City agencies won't be able to ask prospective employees how much money they are currently earning as part of the interview process under an executive order Mayor de Blasio signed on Friday, a policy change that he wants to expand to the private sector.
De Blasio, who signed the order in a pol-studded ceremony in the City Hall rotunda, said that banning questions about past salaries in the hiring process will help close the persistent wage gap between women and men by leveling the playing field.
He said too often there's a "discriminatory reality" in play that men bring to the table when negotiating their current salary.
"When we looked at this more and more, we came to the simple conclusion, you have to disrupt the cycle," he said.
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The executive order won't apply to unionized city employees, whose salaries are governed by their contracts. It will apply to city employees looking for a transfer among agencies, and seeking a higher position, he said.
He joked that he was "representing white guys" — who tend to have the highest salaries — everywhere, and could safely say it was smart policy.
"My message to white guys, my message to employers, this is just good for everyone," he said.
He also announced that his office would support a City Council bill, sponsored by Public Advocate Letitia James, which would prohibit private employers from asking about past salaries.
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Kathryn Wylde, president of the pro-business nonprofit Partnership for New York City, said that the bill is bad for city employers.
"A negotiation of the salary package is an important piece of the hiring process," she said.
She stressed that many in the business community supported closing the gender pay gap but this wasn't the way to do it.
"It's another example of City Council over reach," she said.
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The average New York City woman earns about 80% less than a man, according to federal census data. The numbers are even worse for minority women, with black females making 64 cents for every dollar a white man brings in and Latinas earning 54 cents on the dollar.
De Blasio said that his administration has made a point to include women in many leadership positions, and said his most influential aide is female.
"My No. 1 advisor, and I've said this from the transition to today, is Chirlane McCray," he said of his wife.
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