On August 1, 2016, Massachusetts passed an act to establish pay equity, which promotes equal pay across genders for comparable work and provides equal opportunities to earn competitive salaries in the workplace.  Here is a summary of this new Act which takes effect July 1, 2018.  

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Massachusetts Pay Equity Act

Sep 22, 2016

September 22, 2016

At the beginning of August 2016, Massachusetts passed an act to establish pay equity, which promotes equal pay across genders for comparable work and provides equal opportunities to earn competitive salaries in the workplace.

Here is a summary of the new Massachusetts Pay Equity Act which takes effect July 1, 2018:

  1. Comparable Work

The Act prevents wage discrimination on the basis of gender by requiring equal pay for “comparable work,” which is defined as work that meets the following conditions:

  • Substantially similar in that it requires substantially similar skill, effort, and responsibility 
  • Performed under similar working conditions

This differs from the existing Federal Equal Pay Act which requires equal pay for “equal work,” which does not require jobs to be identical, but requires that the jobs be substantially equal. Under both the Massachusetts Act and the Equal Pay Act, job content (rather than job title) determines which jobs are comparable or equal, respectively. The law permits some variations in pay for factors such as work experience, education, job training, or geography.

2. Salary History

Under the new law, Massachusetts employers are prohibited from requiring applicants to provide their salary history before receiving a formal job offer or from contacting a prior employer to verify salary. The Act also allows employees to discuss their salaries with co-workers without fear of retaliation.

3. Self-Evaluations

The law also provides an affirmative defense to liability and pay discrimination claims if an employer has "completed a self-evaluation of its pay practices in good faith and can demonstrate that reasonable progress has been made toward eliminating compensation differentials based on gender for comparable work in accordance with that evaluation."

You can read the full text of the Act, here.