It's Going to be Illegal to Ask about Pay History in this State

By: Lauren Mineau

A new law designed to help narrow the gender pay gap will go into effect in California starting in January.

The salary privacy bill was enacted by California Gov. Jerry Brown on Oct. 12 . The law will ban employers in the state from asking about an applicant’s salary history.

The measure is part of a caucus-backed package of bills “paving the way for a better, more inclusive, healthier California,” Brown said.

It was formally signed at a ceremony at Women’s Empowerment, a Sacramento nonprofit for homeless women. Brown was surrounded by members of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus.

The law applies to both men and women, but it’s mainly targeting pay discrimination that can be a problem for women.

Under the new regulation, applicants are free to share compensation and benefits history and if it’s provided, employers may use the information to make an offer. It also requires employers to provide applicants a salary range upon request.

Delaware, Massachusetts, and Oregon have passed similar laws that take effect within the next few months. New York City and San Francisco have similar ordinances enacted as well, taking effect on Oct. 31 and Jan. 1, respectively. Philadelphia passed a similar law, though it’s currently being challenged in court.

New Law Bans Employers From Asking This