Philadelphia City Council passed a Bill earlier this month that will soon make it illegal for any employer to ask a job applicant about his or her wage history. This law will go into effect 120 days after it is signed by Mayor Kenney. A spokesman from the Mayor’s office stated that the Mayor intends to sign the Bill into law shortly so we can expect this to be the law in Philadelphia in late March or early April 2017. Philadelphia officials modeled the Bill after Massachusetts which passed its own wage history ban earlier in the summer. At the state level, both the Pennsylvania and New Jersey legislatures have similar wage history proposals under consideration, but for now, it looks like the Philadelphia law will go into effect first.
Gender Wage Gap
The primary purpose behind the Bill is to address the gender wage gap. According to the United States Census Bureau 2015, in Pennsylvania woman are paid 79 cents for every dollar a man makes. woman of color are paid even less. It is not uncommon for an employer to base a salary on what you were making at your previous job. Therefore, basing an employee’s wage upon what she earned at a previous employer only serves to perpetuate the gender wage gap. This Bill stresses that wages should be based upon job responsibilities and an applicant’s or employee’s qualifications.