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Tired of being asked your previous salary history while job hunting? If you’re looking to be hired in Massachusetts after July 2018, you won’t have to worry – and for noble reasons. Lawmakers signed a “new pay equity law” earlier this month barring the practice in hopes of ultimately reaching equal pay for equal work. 

While seemingly innocent, the practice of asking about prior salaries has historically put those being paid below-market wages at a disadvantage. If an employer sees an opportunity to continue paying less than you’re worth, he or she will likely do so. For women, who statistically make less than men, this is a definite problem. But no more for Massachusetts.

Typically employers ask because they want to know how you were valued at other jobs, and where they should begin when considering your next salary. So, if you’re applying for jobs in the remaining 49 states and still want to have the upper hand, consider rephrasing your answer.  Imagine instead they asked you, “What is the salary range you’re seeking?” over “What were your previous salaries?” The way you answer the first question will hopefully set you up for more success. You could even be upfront and tell them your previous salary is confidential, in accordance to that employer’s wishes. 

If all else fails - hopefully the new law passed in Massachusetts will pick up steam in the remainder of the United States, and you may not have to think about it at all! 

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