New York Bans Salary History Inquiries, Expands Pay Equity Law

Author: Michael Cardman, XpertHR Legal Editor

July 15, 2019

New legislation in New York state will prohibit employers from asking prospective employees about their salary history and significantly expand the state's pay equity law.

"There is no rationale why women should not get paid what men get paid," New York Gov. Andrew Gov. said in a statement. "New York will continue to lead the way forward and stand in solidarity with women and girls in every corner of this state."

Salary History Inquiry Ban

Senate Bill S6549 will prohibit employers from requesting, requiring or seeking a job applicant's or current employee's salary or wage history as a condition of:

  • Receiving an interview;
  • An offer of employment;
  • Continued employment; or
  • Promotion.

The new law also will prohibit employers from relying on salary or wage history in determining whether to offer employment or in determining what wages or salary to offer an applicant.

Senate Bill S6549 takes effect January 6, 2020. At that time, New York will join several other states and localities that have, or will soon have, enacted similar salary history inquiry bans.

Pay Equity Expansion

Senate Bill S5248B will expand New York's equal pay law in two important ways.

First, it will require equal pay for "substantially similar work, when viewed as a composite of skill, effort, and responsibility, and performed under substantially similar working conditions." Currently, equal pay is required only for "equal work on a job the performance of which requires equal skill, effort and responsibility."

Second, the new law will prohibit pay differentials based on age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, military status, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, familial status, marital status, domestic violence victim status, and more. Currently, pay differentials are prohibited only on the basis of sex.

Senate Bill S5248B takes effect October 8, 2019.