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Following unanimous bipartisan votes in the House and the Senate, Governor Baker signed the Commonwealth’s pay equity legislation into law on Monday, August 1. This new law (S.2119 – An Act to Establish Pay Equity) ensures equal pay for comparable work for all Massachusetts workers and equal opportunities to earn competitive salaries in the workplace.

“I am pleased to sign bipartisan legislation to create a more level playing field in the Commonwealth and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to earn a competitive salary for comparable work,” said Governor Charlie Baker, who signed the law during a ceremony at the Statehouse attended by Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo, Treasurer Deb Goldberg, State Auditor Suzanne Bump, State Senator Patricia Jehlen and members of the Legislature. “I thank the Legislature for unanimously passing this bill and working closely with the business community to support women and families across the state.”

The new law will prevent pay discrimination for comparable work based on gender. The bill allows employees to freely discuss their salaries with coworkers, prohibits employers from requiring applicants to provide their salary history before receiving a formal job offer and authorizes the Attorney General to issue regulations interpreting and applying the expanded law.

“This legislation is an important step toward advancing more equal, inclusive and thriving workplaces throughout the Commonwealth for women and families,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito.

Under the new law, employers are permitted to take certain attributes of an employee or applicant into account when determining variation in pay, like: their work experience, education, job training, or measurements of production, sales, or revenue.

“I have been trying to get this bill passed since Senator Jehlen first filed it in 1998,” said Representative Ellen Story (D-Amherst). “But, there are some who have been waiting even longer. Marilyn Jancey and lunch ladies from Everett have been waiting since 1989. I am thrilled to help deliver this small slice of justice for those who have been waiting so long.”

“This milestone legislation allows Massachusetts to, once again, lead the nation,” said House Speaker Pro Tempore Representative Patricia A. Haddad (D-Somerset). “None of this would have taken place had not legislators on both sides of the aisle, the business community, the Attorney General’s office and ordinary, everyday working citizens of the Commonwealth worked together to achieve this goal: equal pay for equal work.”

The statute of limitations laid out currently under the Equal Pay statute will be expanded from one to three years and employees will no longer be required to pursue a general claim of intentional discrimination at the Massachusetts Commission against Discrimination before filing a separate equal pay claim in court.

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