NEW ORLEANS – Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, joined by elected officials and pay equity advocates, issued an executive order aimed at bringing the City of New Orleans closer to equal pay for women. The executive order bans questions about salary history during the application and interview processes for City positions and requests that the Civil Service Commission conduct a pay disparity study among City employees. The executive order is part of a larger equal pay strategy the Mayor will work with key strategic partners to develop this year.
“It is unacceptable that, on average, women make just 79% of what men make. We need equal pay for equal work,” said Mayor Landrieu. “The income disparity affects a woman’s ability to buy a home, pay student loans and support her family. As we move forward with anti-poverty measures and work to ensure everyone has access to a living wage, we must make the gender wage gap a priority.”
Landrieu’s executive order is designed to address the wage gap between male and female full-time employees. According to a 2014 Tulane University study, the wage gap between male and female full-time employees among all employers in Orleans Parish is 21 percent. Inquiries about salary history during the application and interview processes have been shown to perpetuate wage disparities for women. Additionally, because women historically make less than men, using salary history as a base line for future pay negatively impacts women.
The pay disparity study requested from the Civil Service Commission will include actual wages paid with a breakdown of gender, classification, base pay, longevity, merit, special assignment, overtime, and any other pay above the base rate for the position as well as an estimate of the cost to close the wage gap.
The Mayor was also joined today by local women’s rights leaders and advocates working to advance issues facing women across the state.
State Senator Karen Carter Peterson said, “I applaud Mayor Landrieu for standing up for our mothers daughters and addressing equal pay for equal work. There is no excuse not to pay women equally for the same work done by men, and absolutely no legitimate gray area where people of good conscience can agree to disagree. Paying women less than men for doing the same work and pretending invisible "market forces" will correct the gap has never worked.”
State Representative Helena Moreno said, “Studies show that salary negotiation is one the main contributors to the wage gap, therefore, banning questions about salary history is a helpful step toward achieving fair pay. I thank the Mayor for this effort and plan to work on the local level to end the wage gap in New Orleans and make it the shining example for the rest of state to follow.”
Board president for Independent Women’s Organization New Orleans Lynda Woolard said, “The Independent Women’s Organization has long advocated for equal pay for equal work. Louisiana’s gender pay gap, one of the worst in the country, is particularly damaging to the 40% of families with women as the breadwinner, but impacts all families that rely on women’s contributions to income. We are grateful that Mayor Landrieu is taking steps to address some of the factors that lead to pay disparity in New Orleans, and stand ready to support him in his efforts to make this a fairer and more equal city.”
Local attorney and pay equity advocate Sharonda Williams said, “Conducting a study of pay disparities is critically important and a wonderful example that I hope government agencies across the country will follow. This is an important step in the fight to gain equal pay for women.”
Local pay equity advocate Kelisha Garrett said, “As an activist for equity and inclusion, I stand with this administration in support to identify a solution that ensures equality in compensation for the women of our community."
Co-Chair of the Legislative Agenda for Women Julie Schwam Harris said, "As advocates for hardworking women who seek equal pay and a fair shot at economic security for their families, we applaud the Mayor's actions. We will continue to work with him and the City Council to help New Orleans' women and families succeed."
The text of the Executive Order:
MITCHELL J. LANDRIEU
WHEREAS, according to a 2014 study completed by Newcomb College Institute of Tulane University, the wage gap between male and female full-time employees in New Orleans is 21%; and
WHEREAS, the 21% wage gap translates into $9,567 less income for women and families in New Orleans each year; and
WHEREAS, in New Orleans, families with female heads-of-household have an income 48 percent less than families overall; and
WHEREAS, as a result of women historically making less than men, the use of salary history as a base line for future pay negatively impacts women; and
WHEREAS, inquiries about salary history during the application and interview processes have been shown to perpetuate wage disparities for women.
NOW THEREFORE, I, MITCHELL J. LANDRIEU, by the authority vested in me as Mayor of the City of New Orleans, by the Constitution and laws of the State of Louisiana and the Home Rule Charter and laws of the City of New Orleans, HEREBY ORDER AS FOLLOWS:
Effective Date: This Executive Order is effective upon signature of the Mayor.
Purpose: In order to foster an environment of equal pay for equal work, this Executive Order prohibits inquiries about a candidate’s salary history during the application and interview process and requests that the Civil Service Commission conduct a study of pay disparity among city employees.
Chief Administrative Office Policy Memorandum: The Chief Administrative Office shall issue a Policy Memorandum outlining the interview process City departments must follow when seeking candidates for employment including, but not limited to, prohibiting questions about a candidate’s salary history throughout the application and interview phases.
Civil Service Commission Pay Disparity Study: The Civil Service Commission is requested to authorize a pay disparity study among city employees. The analysis should include actual wages paid, with a breakdown of gender, classification, base pay, longevity, merit, special assignment, overtime, and any other pay above the base rate for the position and an estimate of the cost to close the wage gap. The report should be submitted to the Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer.
WITNESS MY HAND AND SEAL THIS 25th DAY OF JANUARY, 2017 AT NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA.
Mitchell J. Landrieu, Mayor
City of New Orleans