With the final few working days of the General Assembly session, we’re starting to see the outlines on bills that are pretenders vs. contenders.
Yesterday, the House passed a contender on the subject of pay equity in a bi-partisan vote. Unless the Senate decides not to bring up the matter (as it decided last year), employers should start preparing for its likely overall passage and implementation later this year.
Four other states (including Massachusetts) have a bill of this type on the books.
So what does House Bill 5386 say exactly?
Well, less than it originally said. At the vote yesterday, the House passed “Amendment A” that eliminated some of the more controversial provisions of House Bill 5386.
Ultimately, the bill would expand the prohibitions on pay secrecy now found in Conn. Gen. Stat. 31-40z, and prohibit an employer from:
Inquiring or directing a third party to inquire about a prospective employee’s wage and salary history unless a prospective employee has voluntarily disclosed such information, except that this subdivision shall not apply to any actions taken by an employer, employment agency or employee or agent thereof pursuant to any federal or state law that specifically authorizes the disclosure or verification of salary history for employment purposes. Nothing in this section shall prohibit an employer from inquiring about other elements of a prospective employee’s compensation structure, as long as such employer does not inquire about the value of the elements of such compensation structure.
So, while there is a general prohibition about asking applicants about their salary history, it does not apply (1) if the prospective employee voluntarily discloses his or her wage and salary history or (2) to any actions taken by an employer, employment agency, or its employees or agents under a federal or state law that specifically authorizes the disclosure or verification of salary history for employment purposes.
The bill also allows an employer to ask about compensation structure, but the employer may not ask about the value of the compensation structure’s elements, except for the value of stocks or equity.
Ultimately, the compromise that was reached was applauded by business groups like the CBIA:
Approval today of legislation addressing gender-based pay inequity is the result of discussions and compromise between multiple parties, including the business community, Democratic and Republican legislative leadership, and the governor’s office, and we thank them for all their commitment to forge a consensus.
If passed by the Senate and signed into law, the bill would take effect January 1, 2019.