New York City Bans Salary History Inquiries for Government Jobs

New York City Bans Salary History Inquiries for Government Jobs

In an executive order issued on Friday, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio barred city agencies from asking job candidates for their salary histories, describing the ban as a move to address gender and racial pay gaps in the city’s 300,000-strong public sector workforce. While 90 percent of those employees are union workers whose salaries are set in collective bargaining, the order’s main impact will be on non-union managerial positions, Nathan Tempey reports at Gothamist:

The announcement touts the order as a model for employers everywhere. The order goes into effect in 30 days, and specifically, it says that city agencies cannot seek salary history information by questioning or research prior to making a conditional job offer. After extending an offer, agencies will be allowed to look into salary history, but only as far as it comes up in verifying past employment, and they will not be allowed to consider it in setting pay. …

According to a recent study by the Public Advocate’s Office, women working full time in New York state make 87 cents for every dollar earned by a man. In New York City, this has a pronounced racial disparity as well, with Hispanic, African-American, and Asian-American women making 54, 45, and 37 percent less than white men, respectively—divides that are more pronounced than the rest of the country. The divide is also worse in New York’s city government than the private sector, with women working for the city making 18 percent less than their male counterparts, compared to a 6 percent gap in for-profit businesses.

The de Blasio administration hopes to make this new rule apply to private employers. Public Advocate Letitia James submitted a bill to the New York City Council in August that would enact a broader ban on salary histories.

New York’s move comes just a few months after Massachusetts passed a law prohibiting all employers, public and private, from requesting candidates’ salary histories during their recruiting process. The Massachusetts law is expected to kick off a wave of similar legislation in other parts of the country, and Massachusetts state senator Patricia Jehlen, who cosponsored the law, tells Money magazine’s Megan Leonhardt that “lawmakers from Illinois, North Carolina, Washington, D.C., and Texas have already reached out to her office.”

A bill was introduced in the House of Representatives in September to ban salary history inquiries nationwide, but is unlikely to pass the current Congress