Senate Passes Gianaris Bill Banning Gender Discrimination in Disabled Ins. bonuses

ALBANY, NY – Senate Vice Chairman Michael Gianaris announced March 9 that the Senate passed its bill (S.1187-A) prohibiting sex discrimination in disability insurance policies. Currently, gender is a determining factor in insurance premiums. Senator Gianaris’ legislation would ban insurers from using gender as a tool to determine risk. The passage of this law by the Senate took place during the celebration of International Women’s Day.

“The deck is already stacked against women and gender non-conforming people in the labor market, and I’m proud that the Senate passed my bill to make things fairer,” said Senate Vice Chairman Michael Gianaris. “Small companies should not be penalized for hiring female and gender non-biased staff and this proposal would create a level playing field for people in the workplace.”

Senator Gianaris’ legislation prohibits insurers from charging different rates based on the sex of the insured person. Doctor Disability, a leading medical disability insurance broker, has stated that it can cost up to 50% more to insure a female employee than a male. Small businesses in Queens have said it costs up to three times more to offer this insurance to women than it does to men. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed a similar law into law in January 2019.

Deborah J. Glick, member of the assembly supporting legislation in the assembly, said, “New Yorkers do not tolerate sex discrimination — not now, never. I am grateful for Senator Gianaris’ partnership on this important piece of legislation and I hope it will be passed in the Assembly in the coming months.”

Sheila Lewandowski, Executive Director of the Chocolate Factory Theatre, said: “I can’t believe I have to gender assign my employees to offer mandatory disability insurance, but I do. I have to classify every employee as male or female, even if they identify as non-binary or transgender, in order to get a disability insurance bill, which charges more for “males” than for “females.” I also can’t believe it’s still legal to charge more for women; in upstate New York! We’ve got a woman governor, a woman attorney general, a woman running the Senate, and insurance companies are still allowed to make women’s jobs more expensive than men’s. Thank you to Senator Gianaris and the New York State Senate for moving this bill forward. I trust that the congregation will do the right thing.”

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