New law allows Washington co-workers to talk openly about salary

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- A bill which allows co-workers to talk openly about how much they make is officially a law. Governor Jay Inslee signed the bill into law Wednesday in a move to support gender pay equality by giving women the chance to find out whether they are undervalued, without the fear of retaliation.

"If women don't know they're being underpaid, it's much harder for them to go into a supervisor's office or their boss and ask for more money and ask for equal pay," said sponsor Rep. Tana Senn (D-Mercer Island).

Despite existing equal pay laws, there continues to be a gender wage gap in Washington. A study released in 2017, found Washington women were paid 79 cents for every dollar paid to men. They calculated that amount to equal a nearly $12,000 annual wage gap between men and women.

The new law also makes limiting training or job announcements to a single gender illegal.

The House passed a version of this bill four years in a row, but this is the first time it's made it to the governor.

The new law updates the state's equal pay act for the first time in 75 years.