Amazon bans salary, benefits history inquiries

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Retail giant Amazon distributed a memo to employees last week that outlined a company-wide stance against asking job candidates about their salary or benefits history.

The move is widely considered a step toward achieving pay equity, as women and minorities are historically paid less than white men for similar work. The salary history question can determine what a new job’s salary will be — as opposed to the actual market value of that new position — thus perpetuating the wage gap.

Hiring managers at Amazon cannot directly or indirectly ask candidates about their current or prior base pay, bonus, equity compensation, variable pay or benefits.

They also cannot “use salary history information as a factor in determining whether or not to offer employment and what compensation to offer a candidates; consider salary history information even if the candidate volunteers it; document a candidate’s current or former salary in any Amazon recruiting systems or third-party databases like LinkedIn Recruiter; ask or rely on a third-party recruiting agency to ask a candidate for his or her salary history,” according to the company statement.

See also: HireRight adds function to hide salary history

Amazon also forbids hiring managers from asking candidates about their existing or previous benefits package or retirement savings plan.

Companies including Cisco, Facebook and Google have implemented similar policies as a number of U.S. cities, states and territories, such as Delaware, New York City, Puerto Rico, Oregon, San Francisco, Massachusetts and California, pass legislation that bars employers from asking about a candidate’s prior salary.

Amazon did an internal compensation review in 2016 and found that women earned 99.7 cents for every dollar that men earn in the same jobs, while minorities earned 99.7 cents for every dollar that white employees earn in the same jobs.

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