Legislative Gazette -- Sen. Hoylman urges NY to follow the lead of Massachusetts and ban wage history questions

Sen. Hoylman urges NY to follow the lead of Massachusetts and ban wage history questions

Responding to the far-reaching equal pay law signed into law this week in Massachusetts, Sen. Brad Hoylman, D-Manhattan, is calling on the New York State Legislature to pass his bill that would prevent employers from asking about an applicant’s wage history as a condition of employment.

Bill S.6342/A.5982 — sponsored by Hoylman and Assembly Member Marcos Crespos — would help close New York’s gender gap by preventing employers from requiring a wage history as a requirement for an interview, application, or as a condition for accepting a job.

This is a tactic used by employers to justify their lower pay rate and marginal pay increase for women employees and the practice is a root cause of continued wage gap and wage inequalities between female and male employees, according to the bill’s stated justification.

Without such a ban, women start any new job having their salary based on previous salary, which to begin with was unequal to their male counterparts. It’s a revolving cycle that brings us to today’s persistent wage gap which ranges from 23 percent to as much as 45 percent for minority women, say Hoylman and Crespo.

“Studies have shown that salary histories perpetuate a system that unfairly disadvantages women and minorities with lower salaries and fewer promotions,” Hoylman says. “It’s unacceptable that on average women in New York make just 87 cents for every dollar made by men.”

The bill would ban employers from asking about wage histories beginning 90 days after it is signed. The legislation would also require the state to initiate a public awareness campaign about the changes to the Labor Law.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed a law Monday that requires equal pay for equal work in the commonwealth and it also specifically bans employers from asking job applicants about their salary and wage histories until after a job offer is made.

“Equal pay for equal work should be the law,” Hoylman said. “I call on my colleagues to follow the lead of Massachusetts and ban wage disclosure discrimination by passing [this] legislation.”