City bans questions about salary history during job application process

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City agencies are now banned from asking job applicants about their salary history. The new law will help close the pay gap for women and people of color who often start their careers at lower salary rates than men.

NEW YORK — City agencies are now banned from asking job applicants about their salary history.

The executive order, signed into law by Mayor de Blasio on Friday, will help close the pay gap for women and people of color who often start their careers at lower salary rates than men. De Blasio also announced his support for a bill proposed by Public Advocate Letitia James, which would prevent all New York employers – public and private – from asking about potential employees’ salary histories.

“It’s no secret that throughout our nation’s workforce, women and people of color are, on average, paid less for the same work as their white, male counterparts,” de Blasio said. “As the employer of over 300,000 City workers, I have a responsibility to lead the way in putting an end to that cycle of discrimination.”

The new law will go into effect in 30 days. Employers will only be allowed to ask for a wage history after making a conditional offer of employment that includes a salary. Personnel officers will be trained to effectively interview applicants under the new guidelines.

An April report from James’ office found that New York City women earn $5.8 billion less in wages than men annually. Women employed by the city make about 18 percent less than their male counterparts. Women employed in the private sector are better off, earning only 7 percent less than men.

“On the eve of a presidential election when a woman’s name is on the ballot, we are still fighting for equal pay for equal work,” James said. “We know that using salary history is not a fair or necessary means to determine an employee’s wages. This practice perpetuates a cycle of wage discrimination against women.”