To address pay gap, bill set to become law will ban employers fr - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

To address pay gap, bill set to become law will ban employers from asking for salary history

The cost of living in the islands is among the highest in the nation. (Image: Hawaii News Now/File) The cost of living in the islands is among the highest in the nation. (Image: Hawaii News Now/File)
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Job applicants are often asked for their salary history. And their answers are typically used to determine what they'll earn if they're hired.

But a measure the governor is set to sign Thursday would bar that practice as part of a push to address pay inequities.

Advocates for women and minorities pushed for the law, modeled on similar legislation in New York City that was passed in 2017.

Today, women in Hawaii earn 84 cents for every dollar paid to men.

And that wage gap, advocates say, is allowed to continue by salary history requests.

Senate Bill 2351:

  • Prohibits perspective employers from asking for salary history or using it to determine how much a new employee will be paid.
  • Bans enforced wage secrecy and retaliation against employees who disclose or discuss their wages with co-workers.

"The legislature believes that the ability of employers to consider a job applicant's previous salary history is a contributing factor to the gender pay disparity," the bill reads. "Women often disclose their lower salary histories, and employers offer lower salaries in response."

Supporters of the measure point out that wage disparities are highest among minority women.

Recent research found that Native Hawaiian women make just 70 cents for every dollar a man makes, and 79 cents for every dollar a Native Hawaiian man makes. "Such disparities should be acknowledged and addressed in the search for true income equity in Hawaii," the bill reads.

Once signed by the governor, the law is set to go into effect January 1.

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