BOSTON – State Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn) was pleased to join his colleagues in the House of Representatives to pass the Frances Perkins Workplace Equity Act, an important piece of legislation aimed at closing the gender and racial wage gap in the Commonwealth.
“The passage of this legislation is a very important step towards rectifying the persistent gender and racial wage disparities in our state while at the same time not overburdening small businesses with less than 25 employees,” stated Representative Haggerty.
In 2021, women in Greater Boston were paid, on average, 70 cents for every dollar earned by a man, according to the Boston Women’s Workforce Council. This gap is even more pronounced among communities of color, with Black and Latina women experiencing the largest wage disparities of 51 and 55 cents, respectively. “Ensuring transparency in pay and empowering all workers, especially those from historically marginalized communities, is not only morally imperative but also crucial in making our Commonwealth more competitive with other states,” said Representative Haggerty.
The bill mandates employers with 25 or more employees to disclose a salary range when advertising a position and safeguards an employee’s right to inquire about salary ranges in the workplace. Furthermore, the bill requires employers with more than 100 employees to share their federal equal employment opportunity reports with the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. This data will be aggregated and published to help identify gender and racial wage gaps across various industries. According to the National Women’s Law Center, if the legislation passed today is enacted into law, Massachusetts will join ten other states that require pay transparency by mandating employers to disclose salary ranges. The legislation builds on Massachusetts’ Equal Pay Act which was passed by the Legislature in 2016 to bring more fairness and equality to workplaces. The bill is named after Boston native Frances Perkins, the first woman to serve as U.S. Secretary of Labor.
“I want to extend my gratitude to Speaker Mariano for his leadership, my colleagues, and the many organizations who worked hard to make this legislation a reality,” said Representative Haggerty.
The bill now moves to the Senate for their consideration, having passed the Massachusetts House of Representatives 148-8.