Most working professionals have been there—that awkward moment when filling out an application with salaries from past positions or answering during an interview when the hiring manager asks what you're currently earning. We know the consequences of disclosing the numbers. Either your application won't make it to the next level if you tell a large rate, or if you tell too little, you might be confined to receiving much less than what you should.
But not in New Jersey. The requirement to disclose salary to potential employers there will now change.
A More Equal Pay for Everyone
Because New Jersey's government recognizes the downstream effects of consistently offering lower salaries, Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver recently signed a bill making it illegal for businesses to ask for applicants' current and past salary. Experts say that requiring applicants to report their salary history cultivates the cycle of pay discrimination against minorities and women. In New Jersey, studies have found that, depending on their ethnic background, women who carry full-time, year-round jobs only earn 43-82 cents for every dollar paid to white men with similar jobs. The wage gap between Latina women and white men in New Jersey is the largest in the country, while the wage gap between black women and white men is significantly greater than the national average.
Salary History No Longer Matters
The goal of the new law is to allow those who have experienced wage discrimination to push past that negative stigma and get on track with what they should be earning, basically stopping the cycle of discriminatory decisions. Experienced workers can reestablish their careers, and for those new to the workforce, they can begin their careers earning a fair wage for the nature of work and services they provide. If you want to volunteer your salary information, feel free. But, know that the employer cannot hold your current or past salary against you or base their salary decision on those factors.
Enforcing A Fair Wage
In January 2020, when the new law takes effect, employers who violate the new rule can receive a fine up to $1,000 for a first-time offense, $5,000 for a second offense, and $10,000 for future offenses. The New Jersey state government commits to setting a positive example in acknowledging and closing the gender wage gap. If you encounter any violations, the government encourages you to file reports to the Governor's Office of Employee Relations.
While the good news above is specific to New Jersey, ICS helps candidates nationwide find the role that best suits their talents and goals. We connect with candidates to understand and assess their career objectives. We also have a continual pulse on fair salary standards. Contact us today to begin the next chapter in your professional life!