How the MA Equal Pay Law Impacts the Interview Process

By Mary Truslow on

If you’re an employer or employee in Massachusetts, you’re likely aware that the Massachusetts Equal Pay Law (MEPA) goes into effect this July 2018. We’ve explored how the law is not only an obvious win for women and minorities, but a true benefit to all jobseekers.

To fully understand its scope, we recommend anyone hiring or working in MA (or for a MA-based company) to familiarize themselves with MEPA here, which includes full detail on employers/employees covered and implications for current employees.

However, if you’re in the throes of interviewing, either as an employer or jobseeker, here’s a quick overview of how MEPA changes salary conversations immediately:

  • Employers may no longer ask for a prospective employee’s salary history during the interview process. There are two exceptions: (1) to confirm wage or salary history voluntarily shared by the prospective employee; or (2) after an offer of employment with compensation has been made.

  • Employers also cannot seek a candidate’s wage history via a recruiting firm like ours, Communications Collaborative. (Candidates can still choose to share their salary history with us, which we will keep confidential unless otherwise requested.)

  • Employers can ask if performance or sales objectives were met (and how) at a previous employer, but they cannot seek information around earnings based on meeting objectives.

With the enactment of MEPA, rather than discuss salary history in an interview, the conversation should now center around compensation requirements. We’ve already started to see this change with most clients and candidates.

For jobseekers, it means doing your research prior to interviewing, knowing your worth in the market and benchmarking what your experience and skills command. For employers, know the market value of the role you need to fill, including how benefits and flexibility can help attract the best talent.

MEPA provides a long overdue shift from hiring based on individual “cost” to hiring based on market worth, helping to promote a more level playing field for all.