The Equal Pay Coalition, which was co-founded in 2014 by the MCSW, the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Organization for Women (MassNOW), and the Women’s Bar Association (WBA), helped to draft and garner support for this important legislation. The Equal Pay Coalition worked with legislators to create a comprehensive new bill, the Equal Pay Act, for the 2015-2016 legislative session. On August 1, 2016, MEPA was signed into law, becoming the most comprehensive pay equity law in the nation.
The new law contains the following provisions:
- Restricts employers’ ability to request salary history of their employees
- Enforces pay transparency by banning “pay secrecy” policies which prohibit employees from seeking information about their own wages or those of another employee
- Extends the statute of limitations for reporting discriminatory pay practices from 1 to 3 years
- Defends employers who conduct self-evaluations of their pay practices and take meaningful steps to eliminate wage disparities
- Redefines “comparable work” as work that involves substantially similar skill, effort, and responsibility, and is performed under similar working conditions
- Identifies exemptions to equal pay by specifying certain non-discriminatory reasons for pay differences to employees performing similar roles
- Redefines “wages” broadly to include all forms of compensation, including benefits
For more information on MEPA and the history of comparable work legislation in Massachusetts, see the following paper authored by employment lawyer, and MCSW Secretary, Nina Joan Kimball:
As part of our support for the implementation of MEPA, we're partnering with the Treasurer's Office, AAUW, and MA Community Colleges to offer salary negotiation workshops.