The Equal Pay Act of 1963 requires employers to pay workers the same, regardless of their gender. Even though this law has been in effect for years, many female employees still make only an average of 82% of what their male counterparts do.
However, a new law could be a step in the right direction to help New York change that.
A new law bans employers from asking about salary history
As of January 2020, a new state law issued a salary history ban. Essentially, the new law prohibits public and private employers from:
- Asking potential employees about their past salary, wages or benefits;
- Procuring that employee’s salary information from anyone else, such as a previous employer; or
- Considering past salary information in their decision to hire a potential employee.
This law also applies to current employees. Employees can provide this information if they choose, but employers cannot ask what an employee earned previously in an interview or another setting. Now, an employee’s salary history cannot influence their employment.
Why is this important?
Salary history bans strive to address and remedy the issue of pay inequality. Lawmakers believe this is an important step to close the gender pay gap, which the Pew Research Center reports has narrowed, but not changed much over the years.
Additionally, the law could also prevent wage discrimination against other protected statuses as well, such as employees of different races or ages.
Preventing employers from asking questions about one’s past salary could help employees negotiate fairer salaries without their salary history hanging over them, as well as help them obtain the fair pay they deserve for the work they complete.