A DFL bill seeks to close Minnesota’s “gender wage gap” by prohibiting employers from asking about an applicant’s past pay.
“An employer, employment agency, or labor organization shall not inquire into, consider, or require disclosure from any source the pay history of an applicant for employment for the purpose of determining wages, salary, earnings, benefits, or other compensation for that applicant,” states House File 4100, introduced by Rep. Tim Mahoney (DFL-St.Paul).
The bill passed out of the House Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Division Thursday in a 14-2 vote and will now head to the House Jobs and Economic Development Finance Division for a second hearing.
“This is a bill that I’m doing because I have two daughters,” said Mahoney. “Women in this world get paid 80 percent of what a man gets paid. It’s absolutely ridiculous when they’re doing the same amount of work.”
He said one of the reasons the “pay gap exists” is because employers can ask how much an applicant made at their previous job.
“Totally unfair, particularly in this world where we unfortunately have a lot of single mothers that are not getting any other support. They need the same that us old white guys get,” he added.
Jill Hasday, a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, testified in support of the bill and said “asking about pay history perpetuates pay discrimination.”
She said federal law “does not stop employers from paying women less for doing the same job as a male employee so long as the employer can point to pay history as the basis for the discrimination.”
“The ability to rely on pay history provides employers with a ready-made excuse for underpaying women,” she added.
Department of Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero said the bill is an “important step to closing the ever-persistent pay gap.”
“The pay history bill makes it clear that Minnesotans should be paid based on their experience, skills, track record, and responsibilities for the position,” she said. “When Minnesota passes this bill, it will be an important and proactive step in closing the pay gap.”
According to the House’s Public Information Services Office, Attorney General Keith Ellison submitted a statement in support of the bill and claimed that women will not receive equal pay until 2053 under current rates.
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