Delaware Public Media

Lawmakers celebrate Equal Pay Day with new bill

Apr 4, 2017

First State businesses would no longer be able to ask for someone’s salary history during the hiring process under a new bill.

All 13 female lawmakers in the General Assembly are backing the bill from House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst (D-Bear) on National Equal Pay Day.

“It’ll close that wage gap and it’ll give women an opportunity when they go into that job interview that they’re not already behind the eight ball in salary. By not asking for it up front, it puts them on a level playing field with men," Longhurst said.

Delaware women on average earn 11 cents fewer than men according to the National Partnership for Women & Families.

Longhurst says government should step in when disparities like this exist.

“Businesses haven’t caught up with the times. Women are still paid less, African-American women are paid less, Hispanic women are paid less. If we continue down that path we’re just not going to get anywhere,” she said.

The measure wouldn’t prevent businesses from negotiating salaries or looking at someone’s employment history after he or she is hired.

In 2015, lawmakers passed a bill requiring companies under contract with the state to pay all employees equally as part of a package aimed as women’s issues.