Trenton – Legislation sponsored by Senator Nia H. Gill and Senator Loretta Weinberg, which would prohibit employers’ inquiries about worker’s previous wage and salary experience, cleared the Senate Labor Committee today.
“Women continue to make less than men for the same work, and basing the hiring salary of an employee on their previous wages only continues this wage discrimination,” said Senator Gill (D-Essex/Passaic). “This bill would push for more equal pay by making businesses focus their assessments of candidates on their education and experience, rather than their previous compensation, creating a more fair application process for everyone.”
According to the National Partnership for Women & Families, as of 2017, women in New Jersey are paid 82 cents for every dollar paid to men. African American women in New Jersey are typically paid 58 cents for every dollar to white men, and Latina women make 43 cents for every dollar paid to white men.
“Employers should be hiring potential employees based on their qualifications and abilities to meet the company’s needs, not on an applicant’s former wages,” said Senator Weinberg (D-Bergen). “By eliminating inquiries of salary history, we can help to curb wage discrimination based not only on gender, but also race, age, and other characteristics. People should be paid for the job they get, not penalized for the job they had.”
The bill, S-3516, would amend the “Law Against Discrimination” to strengthen protections against employment discrimination. This would promote equal pay for women by prohibiting employers from screening job applicants based on applicants’ wages or salary histories. It would also prohibit them from inquiring about salary history, and taking reprisals against any employee for disclosing former employer information.
More than 30 states and cities have enacted legislation that would bar employers from asking about a job applicant’s pay history. Massachusetts, Delaware, and Oregon were among the earliest states to pass laws to prohibit employers from inquiring about salary history.
The bill was released from committee by a vote of 3-0.