Nov 19 2021
It is always exciting when we have a new law in Connecticut that offers additional protections for our employees. “An Act Concerning the Disclosure of Salary Range for a Vacant Position” went into effect in October 2021. The name is a bit of a tongue twister, but the law is a huge step towards pay equity. The basic idea is to increase transparency about compensation with the ultimate goal of increasing pay equity or reducing the gender wage gap. The gender gap is this idea that men are often paid more for the same or similar work than women are.
The law impacts virtually every Connecticut employee. The only exceptions to that are those who are employed by the federal government and those who are self-employed.
The law impacts both current employees and prospective employees. For current employees, an employer is not allowed to prohibit employees from talking about their wages or another employee’s wages when those wages are voluntarily disclosed. Additionally, an employer cannot require employees to waive their right to talk about either their own or each other’s wages, again, as long as those communications are voluntary.
The critical piece here is that an employer cannot fire, discipline, discriminate, or retaliate against any employee that voluntarily talks about their wages or another employee’s wages.
This law opens the ability for employees to talk amongst themselves about their wages and allows them to do so without fear that their employer is going to take an adverse employment action against them, which really goes to the heart of the gender wage gap.
For current and/or prospective employees, the employer is not allowed to fail or refuse to disclose a wage range for a specific position. Now, what an employee cannot ask is, “Hey boss, I want to know how much Tom makes.” There’s a difference there. The employer is not required to disclose the amount of wages paid to any individual employee, but they are required to give the wage range for a position, of course, upon request.
The ability for employees to talk amongst themselves about their wages is paramount to how powerful the Equal Pay Act is. Think about it, a woman at work is not going know that her male counterpart is making more money than her unless of course, he tells her. The ability to be able to freely volunteer wage information at work is critical. This new law reduces the standard to what’s called, “comparable work,” as opposed to “equal work.” Under our previous laws in Connecticut, an employee would need to be able to compare themselves to another employee based on those wages under the more stringent “equal work”. Now it’s “comparable work,” which is a lower burden.
Hopefully, all the new protections here, which modify some previous protections that we already had, and throw in a couple of extras, are going to help decrease the gender wage gap here in Connecticut.