frequently asked questions

1. How does simply reporting data advance racial and gender wage equity?

For decades, employers have claimed to support eliminating wage gaps and be acting to do so. Aggregated and anonymous data in MA and throughout the US clearly demonstrate that good intentions and limited actions are simply insufficient. Public reporting and accountability provides information essential to understand the magnitude of wage gaps and measure progress toward racial and gender wage equity.

2. Why not just require anonymous data reporting?

The Boston Women’s Workforce Council (BWWC) conducts biennial anonymous reporting by employers who have pledged to examine their wage gaps and eliminate them. The most recent report of the BWWC showed backsliding of the composite gender wage gap of these employers. Anonymous reporting does not drive measured progress.

3. Does this bill do anything to affect racial and gender wealth gaps?

Accumulation of wealth comes from saving portions of one’s paycheck. The path to improvement of the racial and gender wealth gaps starts with enhancing the earnings of women and people of color—that means reducing and eliminating their wage gaps.

4. What is the difference between this bill and the recently passed California legislation?

The purpose of the California law is to prosecute employers for wage discrimination. The data employers are required to report is not publicly available. Similarly, the Paycheck Fairness Act filed in Congress requires employer reporting of salary data for purposes of determining and prosecuting wage discrimination. The purpose of this bill is transparency. Studies have shown that, rather than prosecution, such public transparency can produce a positive impact on employers’ wage gaps.

5. Will employers find the reporting requirements burdensome?

The reporting requirements in this bill involve data routinely generated by an employer for payroll and tax reporting purposes. All payroll services compile this data for employers.

6. What is the difference between the wage gap and pay equity gap?

Equal pay for men and women doing the same or comparable job has been the law in America since 1964. It’s a job level perspective. Pay equity is what companies analyze in pay audits. The wage gap looks at an employer. It’s the difference in average total compensation between two different groups of employees (race, ethnicity or gender) under that employer’s roof. For example, the gender wage gap for an employer is the difference between average total compensation for all male employees and all female employees. That employer’s wage gap for Black employees is the difference between the average total compensation of all white employees and all black employees.

An Act Relative to Pay Equity (Bill S. 2721) would require employers to act on their commitment by publicly reporting their wage data, providing information essential to measuring our progress toward racial and gender wage equity in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.