Governor signs bill barring employers from seeking pay history of applicants

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Measure designed to reduce pay inequities between women and men

Gov. John Carney on Wednesday signed a new law that will prevent employers from requesting the pay history of job applicants.

The legislation is designed to reduce pay inequities between men and women.

Sponsored by House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst, D-Bear, the bipartisan legislation – which takes effect in December – also prohibits employers from screening applicants based on previous compensation history.

Delaware will become the first state to enact such changes into law. Massachusetts passed a similar measure last year that will take effect in January.

The few critics of the bill claimed it would provide more regulations in a state that needs to present a business-friendly image.

“All Delawareans should expect to be compensated equally for performing the same work,” said Carney. “This new law will help guarantee that across our state, and address a persistent wage gap between men and women. Thank you to Representative Longhurst and members of the General Assembly of both parties for your leadership on this issue.”

“Pay inequity should not exist in the first place,” said Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long. “Unfortunately, women often have to work harder for our success and to be paid the same as our male counterparts. We still only make 78 cents for every dollar a man makes. This legislation will provide a crucial step toward equalizing wages and eliminating this gap. We owe it to the hardworking women and mothers out there today, and our young girls who will make up our future workforce, to create a level playing field for all of them.”

“Closing the wage gap is a major economic issue for our state and we should do everything in our power as legislators to work to even the playing field and empower the next generation of young women,” said Longhurst. “Delaware is making history today, as we will be the first state to have a wage history law in effect. This new law will protect all prospective employees from having their previous jobs’ salary potentially used against them when seeking work. People should be judged and paid based on their qualifications and not have their previous salaries count against them.”

“I am proud to be a sponsor of this legislation. All issues as they relate to wages and salary schedules should be gender-neutral,” said House Minority Whip Deborah Hudson, R-north Wilmington. “A person’s gender should not be a factor in what we pay an individual for a particular job. This bill ensures we make that happen.”

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