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New pay range transparency bill takes aim at wage gap

STATE HOUSE, Boston, Mass. – New legislation filed by Representatives Josh S. Cutler (D-Duxbury) and Brandy Fluker Oakley (D-Boston) would add Massachusetts to the growing number of states requiring employers to disclose a salary range when advertising a position for hire.


Research shows that salary range transparency in the hiring process is one of the best tools to help close the gender and racial wage gap. The Cutler/Fluker Oakley bill applies to employers of 15 or more and includes a requirement to share the estimated salary range when posting or advertising a new position, as well as for transfers, promotions, or upon request. A companion bill has been filed in the Mass. Senate by Sen. Patricia Jehlen.


“Anyone who has gone through the hiring process, whether it’s as an employer or a job seeker, and not realized until the end that there was a broad gap in salary expectation can understand the advantage of pay range transparency from the start,” said Rep. Cutler. “Posting salary ranges is already a common practice in many industries, but some businesses are reluctant to do so for fear of being put at a competitive disadvantage. Having a uniform state law solves that issue and puts everyone on level playing field.”


“In Massachusetts, on average Black women make 61 cents and Latina women make 50 cents for every dollar that a white man makes,” said Rep. Fluker Oakley. “Knowing a salary range is an important and reasonable step to narrow both the racial and gender wage gaps, by helping applicants and underpaid coworkers to understand and negotiate for the wages that they deserve.”


The bill stipulates that the pay range must reasonably represent what an employer expects to pay for the position at the time, a provision intended to head off potential issues with unrealistically wide wage ranges published. It also directs the attorney general to conduct a public awareness outreach campaign, so applicants and employees know their rights and employers are aware of new obligations.


The legislation is backed by the Wage Equity Now (WEN) coalition. House docket 2814 is currently pending in the House Clerk’s office and awaiting a committee assignment.


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