Philadelphia puts wage equity bill on hold following suit
- Philadelphia has agreed to postpone enforcing its new wage equity law that bans salary history questions until a judge decides whether to grant plaintiffs an injunction to block it, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.
- The bill bars employers from asking job applicants about their past earnings in an attempt to close the pay gap. The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, which filed a temporary injunction with the court, argues that the bill burdens employers, deprives them of freedom of speech and won’t close the pay gap.
- Mayor Jim Kenney signed the bill in January, which would have become law on May 23. The city agreed to hold off enacting the bill so that the parties in the case can review all documents.
Philadelphia is one of several municipalities to pass a pay transparency bill to eliminate pay disparities along gender and racial lines. Women earn $0.79 on average for every dollar men earn, while African-American and Hispanic women earn $0.64 and $0.55, respectively, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
States, regions and cities seem prepared to continue fighting for wage equity should lawmakers and the Trump administration fail to pick the issue up. Laws that block employers from asking about pay history already exist in liberal states such as California and Massachusetts.
As states and municipalities pass their own pro-labor laws, push-back from local business groups and powerful business organizations like chambers of commerce are likely to increase. Court injunctions could tie up state and municipal pro-labor bills for months, preventing their eventual passage.
But employers can take steps to close the gender pay gap without waiting for government mandates. HR can work with managers to review employees’ pay rates and identify any gender disparities and ensure that equity is a key part of the company culture.
- Philadelphia Inquirer City agrees to hold off on enforcing wage equity law, in light of lawsuit