women at work

Massachusetts Just Passed a Major Law to Combat the Pay Gap

Photo: Elise Amendola/AP

On Monday, in an effort to combat the gender pay gap, Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker (a Republican) signed into law a bill making it illegal for employers to ask prospective employees for their salary histories before offering them a job. This is one of the most important moves toward fair pay in recent history.

Now in Massachusetts job interviews, employers are required to state a position’s salary up front (based on an applicant’s worth) rather than waiting for the applicant to tell the company their salary history. This effort is one big step in attempting to correct years of women getting paid less for the same jobs as men, because it ostensibly prevents a company lowballing a woman based on her gender and previous salary history. It instead forces companies to look at her relevant experience first. Massachusetts is the first state to adopt this measure, though activists hope other states will quickly follow. 

Another part of the bill makes it illegal for companies to bar their employees from talking about salaries, a win for advocates for salary transparency. Massachusetts joins 12 other states who already have this protective measure in place. So come July 2018, when the law is enacted, get to blabbing. It’s your right.

New Massachusetts Law Could Combat the Pay Gap