(Montpelier) - Today at one o’clock Governor Scott signed H.294, a new law prohibiting inquiries about salary history.
It prohibits employers from requesting salary history of prospective employees or their current or former employers, requiring the prospective employees’ prior salary history meet minimum or maximum criteria, and determining whether to interview a prospective employee based on their current or past compensation. If the prospective employee voluntarily discloses previous or current compensation in the hiring process, the employer, once they offer the job, can seek to confirm that information. In addition, employers may inquire about salary expectations or requirements, and provide information about the position’s salary and compensation.
At the signing, Governor Scott, addressing the legislation as a workforce initiative, remarked, “This important piece of legislation will allow workers who have suffered from lower wages due to gender, race, or other forms of discrimination an opportunity to get out of the pay gap cycle, and receive equal pay for equal work. For those who have been held back by their pay history, the legislation opens the door to new opportunities. This will prevent hiring equally skilled or experienced employees at different rates simply because one person was paid more in a previous job. Prior to this bill, low wage workers could be held back from climbing the economic ladder, because they were required to reveal their past wages when applying for this new position.”
Cary Brown, Executive Director of Vermont Commission on Women, provided testimony in both the House and the Senate on this bill and its relationship to the gender wage gap. She stated, “When the pay at a new job is based on the pay at an old job, this can force women, and especially women of color, to carry pay discrepancies with them from job to job. A pay disparity early on can haunt a woman for her entire career.”