The Salary History Question


There is a bill being passed (when is it scheduled to pass) around legislature in Massachusetts that would prohibit recruiters from asking potential candidates about their salary history. This bill is being proposed in order to increase pay equity. People who oppose this bill are saying that it will go against HR practices of dwindling down large applicant pools based on compensation and high pay. This will make the hiring process longer due to having to screen the large applicant pools, going through the whole interview process, and then having the surprise of salary expectations being too high at the very end. Recruiters state that asking for salary history early in the recruitment process gives clear expectations from both the employee and employer. Proponents of this bill are focused on the clean slate it would give many people in order to get an equal pay rate. Without giving out their past salary history, it causes employers to make the pay equitable and not base it off a candidate’s previous salary. Women often make less than men, and proponents of this bill are also claiming that by not asking about previous salaries, that the gap between men and women’s pay will become smaller.

What does this mean for your business?

Try to keep up to date with the changing laws. It is important that you don’t ask any illegal questions that could result in further consequences. If you’re not sure whether or not a question you are asking is illegal, consult with an HR professional to clear things up. It’s better to be safe than sorry!


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