The New York City Council voted Wednesday, April 5 to approve legislation that will ban employers from asking job applicants about their pay history when considering them during the hiring process. The bill will impact approximately 3.8 million workers and will prohibit public and private employers from requesting salary history information and querying public records for payment information, though applicants can volunteer the information if they choose.
The bill, championed by Public Advocate Letitia James, was first proposed in August 2016 following the release of a report disclosing compelling statistics on the gender wage gap in New York City. Soon after, Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio issued executive orders giving the green light to James’ proposed legislation to ban salary history information from the public sector employment process.
Public Advocate James and fellow council members feel that the legislation is an important step forward in leveling the playing field and ending the wage disparity in New York City. “Being underpaid once should not condemn one to a lifetime of inequity,” said Public Advocate Letitia James. “Today, the New York City Council passed my bill that will ban employers from asking about previous salary information, a practice that is known to perpetuate a cycle of wage discrimination. We will never close the wage gap unless we continue to enact proactive policies that promote economic justice and equity.”
However, not all are convinced that this measure is the most effective solution to end the cycle of wage discrimination in New York City. According to testimony from the Partnership for New York City submitted in December, the business community is “increasingly frustrated by local government’s interference in their relationships with their employees when it comes to hiring, compensation, and other workplace decisions.”