2018 Written Testimony | Support SB 0377

February 20, 2018

Senate Bill 0377 - Labor and Employment - Pay Scales and Wage History Information | Finance Committee

Thank you for this opportunity to submit written testimony concerning an important priority of the Woman’s Democratic Club of Montgomery County (WDC) for the 2018 legislative session. WDC is one of the largest and most active Democratic Clubs in our County with more than 600 politically active women and men, including many elected officials.

WDC urges the passage of SB0377. This bill prohibits employers from relying on past wage history information to determine an applicant’s salary, or a current employee’s salary when considering that employee for a new position, including a promotion. However, if an employer makes a job offer, an applicant or employee can volunteer his/her salary history to support a higher wage offer. This bill also requires employers to provide salary information to applicants upon request. This bill authorizes the Commissioner of Labor and Industry to assess penalties on employers that violate the law.

This bill is of particular importance to working women because it increases salary transparency and prohibits discriminatory practices that result in paying lower salaries to equally qualified women because of their prior salary history. Numerous studies have documented that there are persistent gender and racial pay gaps. Women are paid 80 cents for every dollar that men earn and the gap is wider for African American and Hispanic women. Recent studies have correlated salary history, especially starting salary history, with these gaps. WDC urges Maryland to join California, Massachusetts, and other jurisdictions, in the growing movement to ensure salaries are based on merit and job requirements, not salary history. Everyone deserves equal pay for equal skills and equal work.

We ask for your support for SB0377 and strongly urge a favorable Committee report.