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Governor Wolf Issues Executive Order to Promote Equal Pay

On June 6, 2018 Governor Tom Wolf issued Executive Order 2018-18-03 addressing “Equal Pay for Employees of the Commonwealth.”  The Order recognized the problem of pay disparity in the work force which particularly affects women and minorities.  It further recognized that a common hiring practice involves Employer’s asking applicants about their salary history during the hiring process which “may perpetuate pay inequity and may result in misalignment between position responsibilities and an applicant’s qualifications.”  In order to address these concerns, the Governor has prohibited Commonwealth agencies, under the Governor’s jurisdiction, from inquiring about an applicant’s current compensation or compensation history at any stage of the hiring process.  Furthermore, agency compensation shall be based primarily on job responsibilities as well as the applicant’s knowledge, skills, competencies, experience, compensation requests, or other bona fide factors where compensation is based on:

  • A. a collective bargaining agreement;
  • B. a seniority system;
  • C. a system of merit pay increases;
  • D. a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production, sales goals and incentives.

The order does not prohibit applicants from volunteering information about their current compensation level or salary history.  The order also does not apply to private employers since they are not “Commonwealth agencies” under the jurisdiction of the Governor.

This Executive Order continues a national trend towards precluding such inquiries.  New York City and New Orleans have similar rules which apply to city departments and agencies.  The city of Philadelphia passed a wage equity law in 2017 preventing wage history inquiries by all employers including private employers.  Massachusetts has passed a state wide law effective July 1, 2018 which also prohibits any employers from inquiring about salary history until after a job offer has been made.

Pay equity is an important issue for working men and women.  Hopefully these efforts will help to ensure that employees are paid based on merit and not their gender or the color of their skin.

Ira H. Weinstock, P.C. is located in Harrisburg, PA and serves clients in and around Central Pennsylvania. Contact our experienced Harrisburg attorneys today, we can travel if necessary.

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