For Immediate Release
February 21, 2023
Contact: Chantal Fuller, Communications Director
Councilmember Henderson Re-Introduces Legislation That Support Fair Wages for DC Residents
Washington, DC – Today, Councilmember Christina Henderson re-introduced legislation to address the persistent gap in earnings between residents in the District via the Fair Wage Amendment Act of 2023.
While the District has seen growth in the workforce, the earnings between men and women are not reflective of a forward-moving city. According to data from the Census Bureau and the National Partnership for Women & Families, as of December 2022, the wage gap in the District of Columbia is marginally wider than the national average, with women making 81.9 cents for every dollar paid to men. However, when race is considered, data from the District reveals a starker divide. In 2021, Black women made just 51 cents for every dollar white men earn in this city. The National Women’s Law Center projects that over the course of a 40-year career, a Black woman in the District will make $1.98 million less than white men because of this earnings gap. The COVID-19 pandemic only widened this divide, as many women resigned or took time off work to care for children during daycare closures and distance learning.
The District cannot tolerate wage discrimination, and it is imperative that this government end a practice that hinders any resident from earning equal pay for equal work. The Fair Wage Amendment Act of 2023 would accomplish this by prohibiting employers from asking a potential employee about salary history until after a job and salary offer are made. This would include prospective employees of DC government, as local government should lead by example. The legislation would also require related workplace notices, so that employees and future applicants are aware of their rights.
“Ensuring that opportunity does not depend on one’s zip code also means it should not depend on one’s gender. While we cannot undo wage stratification from the past, we are taking steps to level the playing field and to dignify the hard work of the women of DC. By prohibiting employers from requiring prospective employees to reveal their wage history, the District will help to ensure that the compensation offered to a prospective employee for one job does not compound any wage inequities suffered in the past,” stated Councilmember Henderson.
The Fair Wage Amendment Act of 2023 was co-introduced by Councilmembers Charles Allen,Robert C. White, Jr., Anita Bonds, Janeese Lewis George, Kenyan R. McDuffie, BrianneK. Nadeau, Zachary Parker, and Brooke Pinto.