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Some States Are Changing The Way Employers Ask For Salary History

It’s common practice to ask someone their wages with previous employers, but Massachusetts just prohibited it. See why the hiring practice is changing.

Blog Author - Justworks
Justworks
Sep 7, 20161 minute
Blog Author - Justworks
Justworks

Justworks is a technology company that levels the playing field for all small businesses. Through our software and as a partner, we help our customers take care of their teams, streamline their operations, and navigate the complex aspects of managing a workforce with confidence.

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As someone who runs a small business, do you make it a normal practice to ask candidates about their compensation history?

In August of 2016, Massachusetts became the first state ever to ban employers from asking about prior salary in an interview.

The Purpose of the Bill

As Think Progress has reported, “The law takes a step that is completely unique: it prohibits employers from asking prospective hires about their salary histories until after they make a job offer that includes compensation, unless the applicants voluntarily disclose the information.”

The purpose of the bill is largely intended to even out the wage gap between men and women; the bipartisan bill passed unanimously in the Massachusetts state senate.

For employers in Massachusetts, this may spell a shift in common interview practices in order to stay compliant.

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Provisions on Workplace and Pay Equality

Here are other provisions in the bill made in an effort to boost workplace and pay equality:

  • Employers must pay men and women the same amount when their work is “comparable.” The definition includes roles that are “substantially similar” in responsibility, skill, effort, and working conditions.

  • Salary secrecy is banned, meaning employees may speak to each other freely about their compensation and employers may not discourage them from doing so.

According to the New York Times, businesses like the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce was an “early and enthusiastic backer,” indicating that business leaders are also supporting this type of legislation.

Although the law is only effective in Massachusetts, it offers a simple solution for employers across the country to balance the scales in the interview process.

If you run a small business, it might not hurt to take a proactive approach. Places like New York City are already looking at introducing a similar bill.

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.
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Blog Author - Justworks
Justworks
Sep 7, 20161 minute

Justworks is a technology company that levels the playing field for all small businesses. Through our software and as a partner, we help our customers take care of their teams, streamline their operations, and navigate the complex aspects of managing a workforce with confidence.

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