BOSTON (SHNS) – The Senate on Thursday passed a bill aimed at closing gender and demographic wage gaps, which would require employers with 25 or more employees to disclose pay ranges when posting a job opening or offering certain promotions or transfers.
The bill would also have companies with 100 or more employees file copies of their federally-required equal employment data report with the Massachusetts state secretary’s office, which Sen. Paul Feeney said would help Bay State officials “measure” wage gaps in order to understand the causes and take future action.
Another of the legislation’s sponsors, Sen. Liz Miranda, said the issue struck a personal note for her.
“As a Black woman, I’m all too familiar with the pay and power disparities that exist within the workforce in this country, and even in the government sector,” the Boston Democrat said. “You often feel unseen. And so I’m really glad we didn’t exclude ourselves from disclosure.”
The bill received backing from the the business community, including Associated Industries of Massachusetts. AIM wrote Thursday on Facebook that it was “thrilled to have been a driving force” behind the legislation, which it said would help Bay State businesses “attract and retain top-tier talent” and would “fortify our Commonwealth’s competitive edge.”
Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce CEO James Rooney said in a statement that he was pleased the product on the Senate floor “incorporates feedback from the business community,” and referred to an “ongoing partnership that the Chamber has with the legislature to support pay equity while ensuring its success through reasonable and practical measures.”
Watching from the Senate gallery Thursday was former Lt. Gov. Evelyn Murphy, who was applauded multiple times for her work to move the bill forward in recent years.
“The wage gap leads to the wealth gap, and if there’s one thing that haunts all of us, it is the horrific racial wage gap in the state,” Murphy told the News Service after session. “This allows everybody to earn more or give them the opportunity to earn more, and in that sense, it gets us the ability to save money and build wealth.”
The House passed its version of the bill on Oct. 4. The two texts are similar, meaning the branches may opt to work out any differences through floor amendments rather than an extended conference process.