Dear Friends and Neighbors,
On Wednesday, I voted in the affirmative on the Frances Perkins Workplace Equity Act, which would address the gender and racial wage gaps by requiring employers with 25 or more employees to disclose a salary range when posting a position and protect an employee’s right to ask for salary ranges in the workplace.
Massachusetts has long been a leader for workers’ rights, but the issue of gender and race pay discrepancy remains pervasive. Women in Massachusetts earn approximately $13,000 less than their male counterparts annually. White women in Massachusetts earn $0.81 for every $1 a white man earns. The gap widens for women of color: Native American women earn $0.59 for every $1 a white man earns, Black women earn $0.57, and Hispanic women earn just $0.51.
Today’s legislation is an important step forward for workplace equity.
Named after the first woman to serve as US Secretary of Labor and Boston native Frances Perkins, the legislation builds on Massachusetts’ Equal Pay Act which was passed by the Legislature in 2016 to bring more fairness and equality to workplaces. The bill would require all employers with 25 or more employees to post a full salary range for prospective applicants for open job positions, for existing employees upon request, and for an employee seeking a promotion or a job transfer. Employers with more than 100 employees would be required to share their federal employment opportunity records, which include employee race and gender demographics, with the state’s Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. That data would be aggregated by industry and published to help identify gender and racial wage gaps.
Research has shown that salary range transparency is one of the best tools to close the wage gap, because women and minorities are less likely to ask for a higher salary during negotiations than their white male counterparts. This legislation would empower job applicants with the knowledge of salary and wage information prior to applying for the job. Being able to view wage data and demographics will inform us about what industries require the most attention.
If the bill passed is signed into law, it would make Massachusetts the eleventh state to mandate pay transparency by requiring employers to disclose salary ranges.
This legislation will now move onto the Senate for further consideration. I will keep you updated on the progress of this important legislation to close the race and wage gap in the Commonwealth.
Yours in service,