On behalf of our 20,000 members and their 1.2 million employees, I am writing to express our opposition to A-4263.
This legislation would place an undue burden on companies who bid on public contracts. In addition to assembling the required data, this bill could ultimately undermine important employee privacy protections depending upon the level of information required in the unspecified form. Among the problematic provisions in the bill are the following:
- The first sentence of the bill would create a reporting requirement that would apply “Notwithstanding the provisions of any law, rule or regulation …” This could require a company to disclose information in violation of employee privacy laws.
- The bill would require disclosure by all bidders as part of the bidding process. The wage information does not bear on any permissible criteria for the award of a public contract and should not be considered as part of any bid.
- The bill would require companies to report employee/wage data for all employees. This would require large, nationwide companies to report an enormous amount of data, much of which would have no bearing on New Jersey wage equality.
- The bill would effectively require all companies to maintain records of employee salaries that can be readily sorted by gender. That could potentially require companies to implement costly changes to their data systems to accomplish this reporting ability if it does not already exist.
- The bill is not clear as to the level of information to be provided in the unspecified form to be developed at a later date. Requiring companies to disclose the names of its employees with their salary information in such a form is extremely concerning. And, even if the names are not disclosed on the form, any detailed job position information could indirectly disclose an employee’s identity. Either way, the privacy of employees and the proprietary information of employers would be jeopardized by this bill. Furthermore, the bill includes no information on the definition of critical terms such as “wage” and “differential” which could also dramatically increase collection and analysis costs for companies forced to comply with these new requirements.
- The bill would require the public posting of the gathered information on the Department of Treasury’s website. The public disclosure of this data is problematic. At best, it would be piecemeal data gathered at different points in time from different companies which may be misleading. At worst, it would disclose confidential, proprietary information protected by law.
For these reasons we respectfully ask that you vote “no” on A-4263.