Philadelphia’s Wage Equity Bill Set To Go Into Effect On May 23, 2017

Mayor Jim Kenney signed the Philadelphia Wage Equity Bill into law on Monday, January 23, 2017.  It will take effect on May 23, 2017, and be codified in the Philadelphia Code at Sections 9-1103((1)(i) and 9-1131.  Under the new law, employers may not ask about a prospective employee’s wage and fringe benefits history or rely on such information in setting compensation and benefits.  The new law is modeled after a Massachusetts statute, and is intended to narrow the gender wage gap by preventing employers from setting pay based in whole or in part on an applicant's wages and benefits at a prior job, unless the applicant wants to disclose it. 

A covered employer may still ask an applicant what his or her salary and benefits expectations are, and an applicant may knowingly and willingly disclose his or her salary and benefits history.  The new law requires employers to revise employment applications and processes for interviewing applicants, negotiating and setting compensation and verifying prior employment to ensure that there is no  obligation to disclose salary and benefits history.  The law includes a posting requirement, and the City plans to provide a poster on its website along with answers to FAQs before May 23, 2017.  One FAQ we hope the City answers relates to the scope of the law, which is written to apply to employers that do business in the City of Philadelphia, without reference to whether they employ any employees within the City limits. 

For a detailed discussion of the new law, see Denise Maher and Martha Keon, The Philadelphia Wage Equity Bill Will Ban Employers From Asking Prospective Employees About Their Past Wages and Fringe Benefits, Littler Insight (Oct. 24, 2016). 

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.