Earlier this month, New York City approved of an ordinance that takes an important step in helping to bridge the wage gap. The ordinance bans city employers from asking a job applicant about their previous salary — though they are allowed to discuss it (and use the number to inform salary decisions) if the applicant brings it up themselves.
According to the legal document this is, "A local law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to prohibiting employers from inquiring about or relying on a prospective employee's salary history." If this gets passed into law, it will go into effect 180 days later. Pretty straightforward, but why is it so important?
Well, there is an argument that basing a salary on a past number perpetuates pay inequality — especially as women often make less than men. By removing past salaries from the discussion, the playing field is in essence leveled.
This practice is becoming more and more common as the fight for pay equality becomes more urgent. Massachusetts has enacted this policy state-wide, as have Philadelphia and Puerto Rico. And we'll likely see future cities and states follow suit.
One really interesting thing about this decision is that it underscores the fact that talking about salaries often shortchanges the employee. So heed this advice: Don't bring up your salary in an interview unprovoked. You might get more money if you wait to see what they say first.