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Wage transparency bill still pending in Mass.

Despite widespread support and optimistic predictions last fall, the Massachusetts wage transparency bill has yet to be signed into law. Separate versions passed the House and Senate with overwhelming majorities in October 2023, which means the legislation has been stalled in conference committee for eight months.

If enacted, the legislation would require employers with more than 25 employees in Massachusetts to disclose salary ranges on job postings and provide pay range information to current employees. Additionally, private employers with over 100 employees would be required to submit aggregated equal employment opportunity (EEO) data to the state annually. Employers would not be required to disclose other compensation such as bonuses or commissions.

The House and Senate versions of the wage transparency bill are largely similar, with one notable exception. The House text specifically exempts many government entities from the law, stating that “a covered employer shall not include a state or local government employer that makes employee pay range or salary information publicly available.” The Senate version does not include this exemption.

Speculation over the delay

The holdup may be attributed, in part, to a change in the House’s negotiating team, according to reporting from the State House News Service. Rep. Josh Cutler, who co-chaired the wage transparency talks and the Joint Labor Committee, resigned in February 2024 to accept a position in the Healey administration. This personnel shift may have contributed to the prolonged deliberation process.

Despite the setback, advocates remain optimistic about the bill’s eventual passage.

“Everybody wants this bill done,” Megan Driscoll of the Wage Equity Now Coalition told the State House News Service. “The House wants it, the Senate wants it, business wants it, advocates want it, women and people of color want it. People want it in Massachusetts.”

Next steps

Employers should continue to monitor the progress of this legislation closely. If signed into law, the bill would likely go into effect one year later.  While the bill does not include a private right of action for aggrieved employees or applicants, violations would be enforced by the Attorney General’s Office through fines and other remedies.