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Pennsylvania State Senate
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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: December 31, 2020 11:07 AM
From: Senator Judith L. Schwank
To: All Senate members
Subject: Pay history restrictions
I will shortly reintroduce SB 38 from last session, restricting the right of prospective employers to ask applicants and employees about prior wage history.

As part of the effort to achieve pay equity without regard to gender, my bill would prohibit employers from: requiring job applicants' to disclose or otherwise provide their prior wage histories, using wage histories to set workers' wages, and from prohibiting workers from discussing their own or co-workers' pay.

Pay history requirements generally reinforce wage disparities by allowing past pay to shadow workers as they move to new jobs, effectively suggesting to employers a cap on what to offer applicants. Today, women nationally make only 80 cents for each dollar paid to men for equal work. At 79 cents on the dollar, Pennsylvania ranks in the bottom half of the country for pay equity for women, according to a survey by the American Association of University Women.

My bill would allow employers to request pay history for the purpose of offering a higher pay after initially offering a job at a lower pay rate. It would prohibit retaliation against workers who report or refuse to comply with wage history requests in violation of this law, and it would presume that adverse actions taken against an employee within 90 days of such refusals or reports are retaliatory. It also would authorize compensatory damages and attorneys fees and costs for violations and back-pay based on the maximum wage or salary paid to another employee for equal work, and would empower the Attorney General to enforce the law on behalf of individual and multiple employees.

Similar legislation has been enacted in California, Massachusetts and Oregon, and is being considered in other states. I hope you will stand with women in Pennsylvania and uplift them and the families whose livelihoods and welfare depend on their earnings.

Introduced as SB389