Following the path laid out by other states, as of January 1, 2019, companies in Hawaii will no longer be able to inquire about an applicant’s salary history as a part of their hiring process and salary determination. This bill, the Equal Pay Act (SB 2351) which has been designed to help pay equality, goes into effect on the first day of the new year.
Hawaii, like California, New York and 8 other states has created this law as a way to hopefully assist in closing the wage gap that exists between men and women by banning employers from asking about a candidate’s salary history. The practice of requesting this information has been used for years as a tool for setting a persons salary range for a new position, but in recent years has been identified as a key factor in pay inequality. A lower wage at a previous job can adversely affect the salary at jobs in the future. This can lead to a person continuing to have lower earnings across their lifetime.
There is always the chance that an employer may uncover what an individual was making in their prior role without even asking directly. If you are an employer in Hawaii, you better think twice before using this information. No previous salary history, whether gained through direct or indirect information can be used in determining a salary for a potential role. Employers may still engage in discussions/negotiations with candidates to understand salary expectations…they just can’t ask and are advised to not go looking.
The states that now have salary bans are as follows:
- New Jersey
- New York
If you are an organization in Hawaii, make sure you review your interview process and documents prior to January 1, and ensure all hiring managers have a clear understanding of this new law.