ROCHESTER, Minn. - A bill in the Minnesota legislature is hoping to address pay inequities in the North Star State.
The Preventing Pay Discrimination Act would bar employers from requesting information about a job applicant's pay history. The Minnesota Department of Human Rights says when future salaries are based on past pay, Minnesotans are locked into a cycle of unequal compensation.
The National Women's Law Center says in 2019, white women made 80 cents for every dollar a man made in Minnesota. They say the gap is even more profound among people of color, with Black women earning 59% of what men earned, and Latinas earning 53% in the same metric.
Minnesota DHR Commissioner Rebecca Lucero tells KIMT News 3 the Preventing Pay Discrimination Act presents a proven way to narrow the pay gap.
"This is a pervasive problem in Minnesota and across the country, and we actually have evidence that implementing a pay discrimination ban, or preventing that question from being asked, is working. It's working in other states," Commissioner Lucero said.
The Department of Human Rights adds in the 18 states that have already enacted salary history bans, pay is up 8% for all women, and 13% for Black workers. Commissioner Lucero adds while this effort is just one piece of the puzzle in narrowing the pay gap, it's a simple one lawmakers should take.
"When we can just do small things like this to help end discrimination, we should do so," Lucero said. "In fact, there are a lot of employers who are already on board and moving on this already. We celebrate that that's already happening, and we'd like to see that implemented across the board."
In addition to employers, the Preventing Pay Discrimination Act would also bar labor unions and employment agencies from requesting a job applicant's pay history.
So far the bill appears to have bipartisan support. If passed, the measure would take effect next January.