TRENTON, NJ --  Employers will no longer be able to ask job applicants to disclose their salary history in the application process under new restrictions signed into law Thursday by Acting Governor Sheila Oliver. The law sponsored by Assemblymen Daniel Benson and Wayne DeAngelo and legislative colleagues is aimed at closing the significant gender gap in wages. 

Studies have shown that women who hold full-time, year-round jobs in New Jersey are paid 82 cents for every dollar compared to men holding full-time, year-round jobs and that this gender wage gap is demonstrated across all industries and education level of workers. The wage gap between Latina women and White men in New Jersey is the largest in the nation.

The  law builds upon an executIve order enacted by Governor Murphy's in January 2018 to combat gender inequality and promote equal pay for women in New Jersey by banning this discriminatory practice in state government.

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"Since day one, the Murphy Administration has been committed to closing the gender wage gap. Governor Murphy's first executive order promoted equal pay across state government and prohibited prospective employees from being asked their salary histories," said Acting Governor Sheila Oliver. "I am proud to sign this bill today for our women, children and families, which will institute this policy as state law, and put an end to this discriminatory workplace practice once and for all."

“This law will reinforce and strengthen the groundbreaking equal pay law signed in 2018,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer, Middlesex). “We must continue to fight to level the playing field in order to ensure fairness and equity in the workplace and to protect the rights of all workers.”

The new law prohibits employers from screening a job applicant based on their salary history, including prior wages, salaries or benefits. It also makes it unlawful for an employer to require an applicant’s salary history to satisfy any minimum or maximum criteria.  An employer may still consider salary history in determining salary, benefits and other compensation for the applicant, and may verify the applicant’s salary history, if an applicant voluntarily provides that information.   If an applicant refuses to provide that information, it cannot be considered in any employment decisions. 

Research by the National Partnership for Women and Families found that wage inequality leads to a combined loss of $32.5 billion in New Jersey every year.

“A woman working full time, year-round earns $10,800 less per year than a man, based on median annual earnings. This disparity can add up to nearly a half million dollars over a career, and have immediate, as well as lasting, effects” said Benson (D-Mercer, Middlesex). “There is no question that women should be fairly compensated. This can help us continue to bridge the gap.”

Any employer who attempts to ask or obtain applicants salary history will be subject to a civil penalty of no more than $1,000 for a first offense, $5,000 for a second violation and $10,000 for any subsequent violations. 

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