Passed this week, the legislation seeks to close the gender wage gap
The New York City Council passed last Wednesday a local bill that prohibits employers from asking about job candidates’ salary history during all stages of the employment process.
The gender pay gap is perpetuated when employers rely on salary histories to determine compensation, said the Council’s summary of the bill. “Adopting measures like this bill can reduce the likelihood that women will be prejudiced by prior salary levels and help break the cycle of gender pay inequity.”
The bill is sponsored by Public Advocate Letitia James and Council Member Elizabeth Crowley. It becomes a law once it’s signed by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“Being underpaid once should not condemn one to a lifetime of inequity… We will never close the wage gap unless we continue to enact proactive policies that promote economic justice and equity,” said James.
If an employer is already aware of a prospective employee’s past salary, the legislation prohibits them from using such information to determine the salary.
“Just one underpaid position can set an individual on a course of underpayment lasting their entire professional life,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “The City Council voluntarily instituted a ban on salary history inquiries, and that ban was recently extended to all city agencies – but the gender pay gap is perhaps most prevalent in the private sector.
At the current pace, developed markets would close the gender pay gap by 2080, while developing markets would do so by 2168, according to research by Accenture.
Its poll of over 28,000 women and men across 29 different countries found that a woman earns an average US$100 for every US$140 a man earns. The imbalance is exacerbated by results showing that women are less likely than men to have paid work (50% and 76% respectively).