Society

New York City Bans Employers' Salary History Questions

| by Erik Kindel

Job seekers in New York City will be able to thank a new bill for better wages.

Passed April 5 in a 47 to 3 vote, New York City employers will no longer be allowed to ask potential hires to disclose their past salary history, reports AM New York.

The measure, passed by the New York City Council, seeks to correct the wage gap between women and men. By preventing employers in the public and private sectors from asking about an individual's salary history, employers are encouraged to offer a fixed salary no matter the gender of their chosen applicant, rather than basing an offer off the individual's salary history.

The bill was sponsored by Public Advocate Letitia James and city Democratic Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley of Queens and saw widespread support from other city council members. The Washington Post reports that New York now joins Massachusetts, Puerto Rico, and the city of Philadelphia in banning the sensitive job interview question.

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In a statement to the council brought forward just before the vote, City Council Speaker Melissa-Viverityo said, "Just one underpaid position can set an individual on a course of underpayment lasting their entire professional life."

"Stretched over a lifetime of work," said Crowley, the wage disparities between genders "leaves women substantially [more] disadvantaged than the average man."

James and Crowley made similar statements before the vote, citing various studies which point out the alarmingly high rate of underpayment for women. James even cited a study conducted by her office in April 2016 showing that New York City's women earned a staggering $5.8 billion less than their male counterparts.

The numbers illustrating the pay gap between men and women are astounding, especially when factors like race are brought in. In a study released April 4 by The National Partnership for Women & Families based in Washington, D.C., women in the state of New York earned 89 cents for every dollar men were paid. Nationally, that rate is closer to 79 cents for every dollar a man makes.

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When race is brought in, the pay gap widens significantly. Black women in New York earned 66 cents to every dollar white men earned. Latina women earned 56 cents to every dollar.

"When women are paid less for equal work, one job to the next, not only are they cheated … they are proportionally cheated in their retirement benefits," James told the council. "Improving the status of women has a lasting effect on all communities, including men, children and families … Individuals should not look at this as a women's issue. This is an issue that affects all of us."

Sources: AM New York, The Washington Post / Photo credit: Jeff Bachner via AM New York

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