According to Pew Research, in 2015 in the United States, women earned 83% of what men earned. In an effort to correct gender pay inequities, and to increase compliance with the Equal Pay Act of 1963, some states and localities are enacting laws that prevent employers from inquiring about job applicants’ pay histories. This latest effort to move away from decades of discriminatory pay is predicated on the idea that crafting job offers based on past pay only perpetuates the problem.
New York City, Delaware, and Oregon recently joined Massachusetts and Philadelphia in passing laws to prohibit employers from asking for past compensation as part of the recruiting process.
Employers in those areas have some time to prepare for the new laws which take effect over the next year. Philadelphia’s law was to go into effect May 23, 2017, but is currently on hold as a result of a legal challenge by the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. Other laws go into effect this fall.
- Philadelphia – May 23, 2017 (on hold and facing legal challenge)
- Oregon – 91 days following the state legislature adjournment which means the new law will likely take effect early October 2017. However, employers cannot be sued for violating the law until January 1, 2019.
- New York City – October 31, 2017
- Delaware – December 14, 2017
- Massachusetts – July 1, 2018
As the focus on the wage gap between the genders increases, employers should watch for pay history ban proposals in their own cities and states.