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All but one local legislator backs wage-equity law

By Stephen Betts | Apr 03, 2019
Source: File photo

Augusta — A bill to prohibit employers from asking about an applicant's prior pay until a formal complete job offer has been made will become law.

The Maine House and Senate voted Tuesday, April 2, to approve LD 278, Act Regarding Pay Equality. The Senate voted 22-11 and the House 86-54 for the bill.

All local legislators except state Sen. Dana Dow, a Waldoboro Republican, voted for the legislation, which is backed by Democratic Gov. Janet Mills.

The bill prohibits an employer from inquiring about a prospective employee's compensation history until an offer of employment -- that includes all terms of compensation -- has been made.

The law would also fine employers up to $500 for violating the measure. In addition, asking for such compensation information before an offer can be used to show discrimination in a complaint to the Maine Human Rights Commission.

Supporters of the bill said that by basing a pay offer on past pay, employers could continue gender discrimination. Studies have shown that women earn less than men.

Voting for the bill were state Sen. David Miramant, D-Camden; and Democratic Reps. Pinny Beebe-Center of Rockland, Vicki Doudera of Camden, Anne Matlack of St. George, and Genevieve McDonald of Stonington; and independent Reps. Jeffrey Evangelos of Friendship and William Pluecker of Warren.

Dow explained his vote.

"Well, the bill title says it is about gender and pay. There’s not one word in this bill that deals with gender or pay equality. What it would do is prohibit businesses from negotiating salary packages that attract the most qualified candidates. This process is beneficial for both employers and employees," Dow said.

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Comments (1)
Posted by: Barb & Vic MacCallum | Apr 03, 2019 20:05

Mr. Dow hit the nail on the head.

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