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ASKING ABOUT SALARY HISTORY COULD SOON BE ILLEGAL

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Employers have asked salary-based questions as one method of gaining an accurate picture of an applicant’s qualifications for a position.  Federal laws do not prohibit requesting the information, however, there is a growing trend for some states or cities and counties to outlaw employers from requesting salary history.  Last February 2018, we published a blog focused on the states that have banned salary-based questions from job applicants; the trend to ban these questions has greatly increased and Congress continues to explore the ban on salary questions.  This post updates action taken over the past year.

With the objective of pushing to fight wage discrimination and the gender pay gap, a bill was recently introduced (February 2019) in Congress that would ban salary questions across ALL states.  The proposed Paycheck Fairness Act would prohibit employers nationwide from asking job applicants about their salary history and require employers to prove that pay disparities between men and women are job-related. The bill forces employers to develop salary offers based on job requirements and market pay levels rather than an applicant’s current salary or salary history, which may be lower than current market rates for some individuals’ skill and experience.  The proposed legislation would strengthen the Equal Pay Act.

The following states and cities or counties have banned salary questions by public and/or private employers:

STATE

CITY  COUNTY EFFECTIVE DATE

DETAILS

California State-Wide JAN 2018 All employers, including state and local government
Connecticut State-Wide JAN 2019 All employers
Delaware State-Wide DEC 2017 All employers, or an employer’s agent
Georgia Atlanta FEB 2019 City agencies
Hawaii State-Wide JAN 2019 All employers, employment agencies
Illinois State-Wide JAN 2019 State Agencies
Chicago APR 2018 City departments
Kentucky Louisville MAY 2018 Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Gov; City Agencies
Louisiana New Orleans JAN 2017 City agencies
Massachusetts State-Wide JUL 2018 All employers, state & municipal employers
Michigan State-Wide JAN 2019 State department & certain autonomous agencies
Missouri Kansas City JUL 2018 City may not ask applicants for pay history until they reach an agreed-upon salary
New Jersey State-Wide FEB 2018 State entities
New York State-Wide JAN 2017 State agencies and departments

New York City OCT 2017 All employers, agencies or employees or agents

Albany County DEC 2017 All employers and employment agencies

Suffolk County JUN 2019 Employers and employment agencies

Westchester County JUL 2018 Employers, labor organizations, employment agencies, or licensing agencies
Oregon State-Wide OCT 2017 All employers
Pennsylvania State-Wide SEP 2018 State agencies

Philadelphia TBD All employers

Pittsburgh JAN 2017 City’s agencies and offices
Puerto Rico Commonwealth MAR 2018 All employers

When an employer ceases to rely on salary history of an applicant, it requires making a clear, market-based case for pay, the challenge falls on the employer.  It will be important to create a salary range for each position and ensure that the variations within those ranges are based on things like merit, education, and experience.  Some companies welcome a strictly market-based approach to making salary offers as it has the ability to foster greater transparency.  Whether or not your jurisdiction is covered by the new laws, the trend is increasing and may soon impact your organization.

WageWatch offers accurate, up-to-date HR metrics, benefit survey data, market compensation data and salary reports that will allow you to stay current with the times.  This information is highly beneficial in creating the best salary and benefits packages that meet or rival the industry standards. The PeerMark™ Wage Survey is the only Web-based custom survey tool that allows individual survey participants to select their competitive set for comparison purposes.  Our experienced compensation consultants can assist with your organization’s compensation needs.  We can help you ensure internal equity and compliance with regulations as well as help you structure your compensation programs to support your company’s business strategy and objectives.  For more information on our services, including consulting, salary survey data, benefit survey data and market compensation reports, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online.