New York Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks during a press conference...

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks during a press conference at Fulton Transit Center on Jan. 27 in Manhattan. Credit: TNS/Angela Weiss/AFP

Women in New York who worked full time earned 88.2 cents for every $1 a man earned in 2021, according to a new wage pay gap study released by the state Department of Labor on Tuesday.

That means a woman working for 40 years would lose more than $350,000 in lifetime earnings, the report said.

Women in NY working full time earned 88.2 cents for every $1 a man earned in 2021.

Over 40 years, she would lose over $350,000 in lifetime earnings.

The disparities were even wider for Black or African American women who are paid 67.8 cents compared to white, non-Hispanic men, the report said. Hispanic and Latina women make even less — just 62.9 cents on the dollar, the report said.

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the existing inequities, the report noted. When schools and child care centers were shuttered at the start of the pandemic in 2020, many women were forced to leave their jobs. And when they reenter the workforce, it’s often more difficult to get pay increases, according to the report.

        WHAT TO KNOW

  • Women who worked full time in New York in 2021 earn 88.2 cents for every $1 a man earned according to a new report from the New York State  Department of Labor.
  • The pay gap was even wider for women of color, with Black or African-American women paid 67.8 cents and Hispanic and Latina women just 62.9 cents on the dollar.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic made a bad situation worse for women, because many had to leave the workforce to stay home with children when schools and child care centers were closed.

“The pay gap for women, women of color, and in particular for Latinas/Latinx women across all industries and income levels continues to be a persistent and unsurprising statistic,” Liliana Polo-McKenna, a board member of the Long Island-based Latina Moms Connect told Newsday in an email. “In addition to gaps in wages, affordable and reliable child care remains a major concern for women as they consider employment opportunities, and reinforces barriers to accessing higher paying jobs, entrepreneurship opportunities, educational advancement and skills training.”

In New York State, 4.9 million women make up about 48.8% of the total civilian workforce. On Long Island, 743,879 women comprise about 47.2% of the workforce.

The widest pay gaps appear in the finance, insurance, rental and leasing industry at 71.2% of male earnings while the arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation and food service industry is at a much smaller 98.3%.

Even women who complete higher education have lower salaries than men in their workplaces. According to the study, a woman with a bachelor’s degree earns 18% less than their male colleagues and women with graduate or professional degrees earn 22% less.

“At a national level, even in states like New York, there is what’s called a motherhood penalty and a fatherhood bonus,” said Gregory DeFreitas, senior labor economist at Hofstra University and director of its Center for the Study of Labor and Democracy. “New mothers tend to have their wages depressed when they return to work whereas fathers’ wages tend to rise slightly. There’s something in the way in which employers respond to parenthood that seems to be worsening the problem.”

The report was issued on Equal Pay Day, which marks how many more days women need to work in order to match the salaries men received for the previous year.

Overall, New York women fare better than those in the rest of the U.S., which has a national average of 81.5 cents for every dollar.

Gov. Kathy Hochul said the report “provides a road map for helping our state close the gender wage gap once and for all.”

It listed several recommendations for closing the gap including increasing pay for low-wage workers by indexing New York’s minimum wage to inflation, having state agencies offer flexible work arrangements and having the state Labor Department develop and launch a statewide paternity leave awareness campaign.

DeFreitas said the gap’s unequal impact on women of color is part of a “tough chronic national pattern” that includes discrimination. “Wage growth hasn’t been strong enough to exceed inflation,” he said. “Workers at the lower economic level of the labor market, which includes a lot of workers of color, have really continued to struggle.”

He said many of these women may also have subcontracted or independent contractor jobs where it is difficult to get pay raises. Those in the leisure and hospitality industry were especially hurt hard by the pandemic when travel and tourism came to a stop.

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