Massachusetts Equal Pay Law

14 Aug Massachusetts Equal Pay Law

Massachusetts Equal Pay Law equal-pay

WHAT IS IT?

On August 1st, 2016, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed an Act to Establish Pay Equity into law with an effective date of July 1, 2018.

Federal law already prohibits pay discrimination based on gender, but wage gaps persist and violations are difficult to prove. This law takes steps to address the wage gap by attempting to eliminate pay disparities for employees with comparable jobs, seniority, and workplace conditions.

It is also intended to prevent discrimination based on gender, stating: “No employer shall discriminate in any way on the basis of gender in the payment of wages, including benefits or other compensation, or pay any person a salary or wage rate less than the rates paid to employees of a different gender for comparable work.”

 

WHY SHOULD I WORRY NOW ABOUT A LAW THAT WON’T GO INTO EFFECT FOR ALMOST A YEAR?

While the law will not go into effect until July 1st, 2018, employers need to start taking steps now in order to be compliant. Depending on your specific organization it may take you many months to get things in order.

 

WHAT SHOULD I DO NOW TO PREPARE?

  1. Perform a wage audit to ensure your pay practices are fair and equitable.

The law makes it easier for workers to bring claims against employers, and has a three-year statute of limitations, so taking steps now to make sure your pay practices are fair and equitable is crucial. Employers should begin conducting wage audits and remedy any discrepancies found as soon as possible.  Doing this may afford additional defense from liability because the new law states that if an employer “completed a self-evaluation of its pay practices in good faith and can demonstrate that reasonable progress has been made toward eliminating compensation differentials based on gender for comparable work in accordance with that evaluation.”

Note that employers may not reduce salaries as a result of their findings. Some examples of ways to address a disparity include increasing pay, offering a promotion, or reorganizing jobs within the organization.

If you need assistance completing a wage audit for your company, contact Total HR Solutions.

  1. Update job applications to remove salary inquiries.

The new law prohibits employers from asking job candidates about their salary history or any salary related questions until an offer, including compensation, is made to the applicant.  Even once an offer is made, employers may not contact an applicant’s former employer without written permission.

  1. Provide training and information to hiring managers, interviewers and anyone who makes compensation decisions.

Hiring managers and other employees who interact with job applicants will need to be trained on the new law.

  1. Revise any policies that specifically prohibit employee discussion of wages.

In order to create a culture of transparency, under the new law employers may not prevent employees from discussing wages. Additionally, employers may not retaliate against any employee for exercising their rights under the act.

 

 I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW MORE!

To opt in to future updates about the Wage Law from Total HR Solutions in the coming months, email us at service@totalhrsol.com and let us know you would like to be included on our distribution list. We will make sure to keep you in the loop.

 

 

 

Source: SHRM, Mass.gov

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