New Jersey bans public employers from asking about salary history

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New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed an executive order last week barring public employers from inquiring about a job candidate’s salary history.

The order aims to support equal pay for women and stretches across all state agency jobs — not private employers, Murphy said. The salary history ban goes into effect Feb. 1.

Banning employers from asking a candidate about their salary history or using a background check service to do so 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.

New Jersey’s executive order cited studies that found women in the Garden State who hold full-time, year-round jobs are paid 82 cents for every man’s dollar. Likewise, Asian-American women are paid 87 cents for every white man’s dollar; Latina women are paid 43 cents for every white man’s dollar; and black women are paid 58 cents to every white man’s dollar.

“This discriminatory wage gap results in lost wages exceeding $32 billion every year for New Jersey’s women, hurting their ability to support themselves and their families,” Murphy writes. “Asking job applicants about their salary histories inappropriately perpetuates the wage gap by allowing prospective employers to offer lower salaries to women than they otherwise would.”

See also: Amazon bans salary, benefits history inquiries

The salary history ban has become increasingly popular as cities, states and territories, such as Delaware, New York City, Puerto Rico, Oregon, San Francisco, Massachusetts and California, adopted similar policies in 2017.

Last week, 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.�

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