On August 1, Massachusetts added significant teeth to the state’s current equal pay law. The new law, “An Act to Establish Pay Equity,” not only targets compensation decisions, it also affects hiring practices. As of July 1, 2018, when the new law takes effect, employers cannot ask an applicant to provide his or her prior salary history until after the candidate has successfully negotiated a job offer and compensation package. This measure is intended to stop the perpetuation of gender pay disparities from one employer to the next. In addition, employers cannot use an employee’s prior salary history as a legitimate basis to pay a man more than a woman for comparable work.
The definition of comparable work is broad: “work that is substantially similar in that it requires substantially similar skill, effort and responsibility and is performed under similar working conditions: provided, however, that a job title or job description alone shall not determine comparability.”
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The EEOC published its revised proposal for the new EEO-1 report today. The revised proposal came after extensive, and polarized, comments on the EEOC’s prior proposal this Spring. The prior proposal revised the existing EEO-1 report to require disclosure of data on pay ranges and hours worked in addition to the already required reporting on workforce profiles by race, ethnicity and gender. The revised proposal released today still requires reporting of this data. The EEOC has not changed course on its plan to use the data to identify discriminatory pay practices and target companies for investigations and class action equal pay lawsuits – without having to identify an injured party plaintiff. The primary change in the revised proposal is that the first date by which employers will have to submit the new EEO-1 report has been moved from September 2017 to March 31, 2018. In addition to allowing more time for employers to prepare for the new report, the EEOC made this change to simplify reporting by allowing employers to use existing W-2 data from the 2017 calendar year for the 2018 report. The EEOC also provided options for calculating “hours worked” for exempt employees, and will not require employers to collect hours worked for exempt workers if they do not already track those hours.
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