The Connecticut State Senate voted 35-1 to pass a bill that prevents employers from asking an employee about their salary history. The bill, formally called An Act Concerning Pay Equity and offered in the legislature as HB 5386 and SB 15, passed in the House last month by 142-4. It is being forwarded to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who has indicated he would sign it into law.
“This is a major victory for Connecticut families,” Malloy said in a statement issued by his office. “It is unacceptable that in 2018, Hispanic women earn just 54 cents and black women earn just 63 cents for every dollar a white man earns. This inequity is perpetuated by the practice of asking for salary history during the hiring process – which can disproportionately ensure that women who were underpaid at their first job continue to be underpaid throughout their careers, creating a cycle of poverty and causing real harm to families.”
HB 5386 also prevents employers from prohibiting an employee from inquiring about the wages of employees within the same company or organization. Employers will be able to make other
Compensation-related inquiries regarding an employee’s previous employment history – including retirement benefits, health benefits, and commissions – as long as no dollar value is tied to these questions.
Supporters of the bill claim that it will help women close the wage disparity gap by focusing on skills and qualifications rather than what they earned in previous jobs. The Connecticut Business & Industry Association acknowledged that while the bill marks “a significant change to the hiring process in Connecticut, employers understand the need to address this issue and are willing to do their part. This bill will make pay equity more attainable, while minimally impacting the ability of Connecticut companies to compete.”
And the Connecticut chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union praised the bill, stating it was long overdue, noting that “as of 2016, Connecticut’s wage gap was worse than the national average – on average, women in Connecticut are paid only 79 percent of what men are paid.”