Update to Illinois Equal Pay Act Comes After Determined Advocacy by Women Employed, Shriver Center on Poverty Law, and Partner Organizations
CHICAGO – Today, Illinois takes a major step toward pay equity as Governor Pritzker signs the No Salary History bill—an update to the Illinois Equal Pay Act—into law. When this law goes into effect 6O days from today, employers in Illinois will no longer be allowed to ask job candidates for their current or previous wages during the hiring process, nor will they be able to contact a candidate’s current or former employers for that information.
Asking job candidates for their salary history is a common practice that contributes to and perpetuates both gender and racial wage gaps, allowing for any pay discrimination that a person experiences at any point to follow them throughout their career. And the impact of job-to-job pay discrimination is especially great for women of color, who often experience even larger wage gaps. Black women working in the U.S. make just 61 cents to a white man’s dollar. For Native women, it’s 58 cents. For Latinas, 53 cents. Over a career, a woman of color can lose over $1 million to the wage gap. That’s $1 million that’s not going into the local economy.
Women Employed has advocated for a No Salary History law in Illinois for years. We have won passage of the bill twice before, but both times, the law was vetoed by former Governor Rauner. “We applaud Governor Pritzker for making equity a priority by signing No Salary History into law. We are proud to say that in Illinois, a woman’s salary will now be based on her skills, her experience, and the requirements of the job—and not on her past wages. This will go a long way towards eliminating the wage gap, and will also lift up our communities and local economy” said Women Employed’s CEO Cherita Ellens.
This victory would not have been possible without determined commitment from a strong group of advocates. We thank Women Employed’s former longtime Director of Equal Opportunity Policy, Melissa Josephs, for relentlessly championing this measure. We also thank Governor Pritzker, Rep. Anna Moeller and Sen. Cristina Castro—the bill’s chief sponsors, Wendy Pollack from the Shriver Center on Poverty Law, and our other partners.
Illinois now joins seven states and multiple municipalities across the country who have already implemented similar laws. In addition, there are several states and municipalities that have passed legislation that is not yet in effect.
Women Employed relentlessly pursues equity for women in the workforce by effecting policy change, expanding access to educational opportunities, and advocating for fair and inclusive workplaces to make the world a better place for us all. Since 1973, Women Employed has opened doors, broken down barriers, and created fundamental, systemic change for working women. For more information, visit https://womenemployed.org, or follow @WomenEmployed on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
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