News and Information

January 3, 2019 • Articles

Hawaii Employers: What Is Your Pay Equity Picture?

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 aimed to eliminate the gender pay gap by requiring employers across the country to pay equal wages to men and women in the same establishment who perform jobs that require substantially equal skill, effort and responsibility, under similar working conditions. Fifty-five years later, there are still a few states without equal pay laws, and even where laws are in place, the gap still exists

A growing number of states and municipalities across the country seeking to disrupt the cycle of wage inequality are revising pay equity laws by:

Effective January 1st, 2019, Hawaii’s amended pay equity law (SB 2351) prohibits employers from asking a job applicant about his or her salary history or relying on it in determining salary and other employment benefits, nor can employers research public records to ascertain salary history. However, an employer may consider (and verify) salary history volunteered by the applicant. In addition, employers may not prohibit employees from disclosing their wages to each other; this measure is designed to eliminate wage secrecy, which undermines efforts to close the pay gap.

What should Hawaii employers do?

For a broader perspective of employment in Hawaii, a workforce analysis released in 2018 by the State of Hawaii of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) Department provides some context. According to “Hawaii’s Working Population: An Analysis by Industry 2012-2016”:

View the complete report on the DBEDT site.

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