What To Know About The Latest State Equal Pay Laws

A Summary of State Equal Pay Laws

States/US Territories with Salary History Bans for Pay Equity Policy Reasons – Currently, five (5) states and/or cities ban employers from inquiring about past or current compensation as part of the job application process: California, Delaware, Puerto Rico, Oregon, Massachusetts, New York , Philadelphia (pending legal challenge) and San Francisco

  • Massachusetts “Pay Equity Law,” which are effective on 7/1/18 and California “Fair Pay Act”, are the broadest pay equity laws. Both laws are similar, representative of other states, and prohibit the following:
    • Discrimination, based on gender (CA adds on race/ethnicity) in payment of wages for “comparable/substantially similar work” requiring a substantially similar skill set, effort, and responsibility and performed under similar working conditions
    • In determining “comparable/substantially similar work,” actual job duties are determinative, not the Job title/descriptions
      Wages include all forms of remuneration, and typically include benefits and other comp (incentive equity)
    • Comp differentials are permissible if based on: seniority; merit; a system measuring earnings by quantity or quality of production, sales, or revenue; geographic location; education; training or experience; travel
  • Engaging in recruiting practices that (i) request applicants to disclose current and historical comp (applicants may volunteer); and (ii) prohibit employees from disclosing current comp or talking/complaining about their comp or a co-workers comp

“Pay Equity Laws”

  • Applications: Employers (and agents such as recruiters) cannot include on any application for employment any question that seeks the disclosure of an applicant’s pay history; Charles River’s applications have been modified
  • Questions/Interviews: Employers/recruiters cannot inquire into the salary/comp history of applicants, unless the applicant discloses the history, and cannot ask prior employees about applicant/employee salaries
  • Equal Pay Audits: Employers should conduct self audits/evaluations of pay scales and pay practices relative to gender/race/ethnicity that are “reasonable in detail and scope in light of the size of the employer” and take reasonable steps towards eliminating pay differentials uncovered by the evaluation
  • HR Policies and Practices: Employers must have in place and utilize HR policies, practices and systems that allow for open compensation discussions/complaints related to compensation and implement equal pay standards amongst genders and race/ethnicity or justifiable differences

Interview Questions: Do’s & Dont’s Based On New Laws:

  • You Can’t Ask:
  1. Current compensation – how much are you currently making?
  2. Current benefits – what types of benefits do you currently receive, medical, bonus, 401k?
  3. Past compensation and benefits – what have you earned over the past few years?
  • You Can Ask:
  1. What are your compensation expectations for this position?
  2. What are your expectations for vacation and other paid time off?




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