Previous Salary History Questions in Massachusetts

previous salary historyEmployers in Massachusetts may no longer inquire about previous salary history during an interview.

The Pay Equity law requires commonwealth employers to compensate men and women equally based on comparable work. The law also prohibits employers from asking job applicants about their previous salary history as part of the screening process. Lt. Governor Karyn Polito said, “This legislation is an important step toward advancing more equal, inclusive and thriving workplaces throughout the commonwealth for women and families.”

Similar to the “ban-the-box” laws, employers must wait until a formal job offer has been made (which will include compensation) before inquiring about a potential hire’s salary history. The law which will take effect in July of 2018 also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who openly discuss their salaries. Based on a study conducted by the American Association of University Women, it is estimated that women in Massachusetts earned $0.82 cents for every dollar a male earned in 2014, the national level is $0.79 cents to every dollar.

It should be noted that these numbers are a wide overview comparing salaries of full time employees, year-round employees, and do not factor specifics like experience and/or job title. When analyzing job title and experience the trend seems to narrow (but still exists), when comparing wages of employees with similar job title working at similar businesses and with comparable educational levels and experience. Employers may still factor in qualifications, experience, education, and training when determining pay under the new law.