In one of his first acts as governor, Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order prohibiting state agencies from asking job applicants about their past wage history, in an effort to create pay equity between men and women in the state of New Jersey.
“There’s no reason a woman in New Jersey should be making 82 cents to the dollar to a male counterpart for the same work,” said Murphy.
Murphy made the case for pay equity between genders from an economic perspective.
“This is a systematic failure with a loss of more than $32 billion in combined wages,” said Murphy. “It’s a drag on our economy and it’s time to end.”
In addition to preventing state entities from asking applicants about previous salaries, it also prevents agencies from inquiring previous employers about salaries and assigns the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations to oversee implementation of the order.
Murphy and supporters of the bill said women are often given lower offers than male counterparts for their first job, when they’re more willing to accept any rate to become employed. This puts women at a disadvantage when negotiating a higher salary for future positions. The executive order prevents employers from using past salary information against them.
“In the wage issue, our history becomes a chain around our ankles in order to move forward,” said Senator Nia Gill, who sponsored a bill in 2016 that was the basis for the Murphy’s executive order, but the bill was vetoed by Gov. Chris Christie. “We as women may not win the first battle, but we are going to be in it, because we’re going to win the war.”
Murphy asked for New Jersey’s legislature to pass a bill that would make the intent of the executive order state law.