Massachusetts Employers Can’t Ask For Your Salary History— Here’s Why It Matters

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This week, Massachusetts won big in the fight for Equal Pay.

Govenor Charlie Baker signed into law the most robust equal pay legislation which prohibits employers from asking prospective hires their salary history until after they make a full job offer. The hometown of JFK, Mark “Marky Mark” Wahlberg and Dr. Seuss, is the first state to pass such a law.

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So what’s the big deal, you say? Glassdoor research shows that the average full-time workingwoman earns just 76 cents for every dollar a man earns. Given that, if a female job candidate shares her salary history with a prospective employer, they could have paid her less based on her previous compensation—until now. The new bill prevents employers from asking about pay in the interview process and allows employees to freely discuss salary without consequences.

“This ruling is a major step forward for pay equality,” says Dawn Lyon, head of corporate affairs at Glassdoor. “Greater salary transparency is one of the most effective ways to illuminate pay inequities.”

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That’s right, this is one giant leap for womankind as states nationwide double down on gender pay legislation to continue to close the gap.

Minorities may also benefit from the new legislation. People of color typically make less than white counterparts for the same work, so a de-emphasis on salary histories should have much of the same equalizing effect.

So if Good Will Hunting or the Red Sox weren’t good enough reasons to move to Boston, equal pay for equal work sure is. Plus, you’ve got time to plan your move. The new law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2018.

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