Why the Massachusetts Equal Pay Law Is Good for Everyone

By Mary Truslow on August 16, 2016

As a recruiter in Massachusetts, it’s been a very big news week. The passing of the equal pay law, heralded by many as the most progressive in the country, is a huge win for women and minorities. And because this legislation promotes transparency, fair pay and market equity in all instances, it’s really a win for everyone.

From my perspective, here are some of the ways the new law, which goes into effective July 2018, will benefit all...

·     Since providing your salary history will no longer be required when applying for a job (though it’s still an option to offer it), the onus of transparency will shift. It will be the responsibility of the employer to be up front about a position’s salary, assuaging any concerns that an offer could be based solely on a number provided by the candidate.

·     When employers disclose compensation from the outset, efficient, effective hiring processes result. Candidates will self-select out of roles that are not a match with their salary requirements. And companies will prioritize a candidate’s merits and fit rather than hiring someone with slightly less experience/skills/etc. because they’re looking to save money.

·     While the focus may no longer be on salary “history,” I can envision the new conversation being around salary “requirements.” This is a huge benefit for women who have encountered gender bias in their compensation, intentional or not, as well as, for anyone in a role where they are being paid less than market value for the experience and skills they offer. Perhaps you were stuck in a low-paying job with no increase during the recession. And while you continued to gain valuable skills, you are still far behind market value. Under the new law, you can offer your salary requirements rather than history, and if they are commensurate with your skills and in line with the market, you have a better chance of making the money you deserve.

·     Employees are no longer prohibited from discussing salaries with coworkers, serving as an additional checks and balances on comp practices and promoting continuity across organizations and industries. 

·     This law should result in the best person—regardless of gender, ethnicity, race—landing a job because it will be based on a thoughtful job description, fair salary and consideration of market value. Rather than an inconsistent or, at worst, arbitrary salary range playing a role, this new model really promotes an employee’s value and the value of the role to the organization.

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