New York City Takes Crucial Step Toward Pay Equity

Bosses are now banned from asking employees about salary history.

The New York City Council approved legislation Wednesday that will ban employers from asking job applicants about previous salaries in current or past jobs. The move, advocates say is an important step to pay equity.

In the hiring process, many employers use an individual's previous salary plus a certain percentage as a baseline for future pay, The Washington Post explains. This process perpetuates any salary discrimination that the future employee may have previously faced. Individuals end up being offered a raise on an income that was too low to begin with. Nearly 20 states have introduced similar legislation, the Washington Post reports.

"Being underpaid once should not condemn one to a lifetime of inequity," said public advocate Letitia James, whose office proposed the bill, in a statement. "We will never close the wage gap unless we continue to enact proactive policies that promote economic justice and equity." 


Last year, James' office released a study that found women in New York overall made $5.8 billion less than men in similar fields. The same report found that in New York City, white women make 84 cents to every dollar a white male makes. Hispanic, African American and Asian women make 46, 55 and 63 cents, respectively. 

"Clearly the issue of the dissemination of poverty and wage discrimination is larger than just a women's issue," James told Money. "It's an issue that affects our economy and children and families. It's an issue that we're confident will get the attention of the state legislature but also the national government."

Cover image viaventdusud/ Shutterstock


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