There are a variety of new laws on the books for the start of 2018 pertaining to Employment Law. The most interesting, to me, from a job search and application perspective, is the prohibition on employers asking for salary history throughout the application and interview process.
A little discussed law pertaining to salary history went live 1/1/2017 in California. In short, employers are now prohibited from asking about your salary history. I’m going to leave it to the employment law experts at Littler to discuss the full impact of the law. You can get the complete skinny here: Littler Blog
Basically, the law states that a company can not ask what you made in the last job. This is all part of expanding equal pay compliance. The catch is, they can consider past salary if you disclose it, but they still have to ensure the pay is equal.
Additionally, employers must now disclose the pay scale for an open position upon reasonable request by the applicants and incumbents. Basically, they can’t ask you, but you can ask them during the hiring cycle.
This does not affect government positions as the pay scales are already public. For example, if you are going from government to private, an employer may still have access to your salary history, provided they know where to access the public records.
My assumption with the passage of this law is that not every company will have updated their online applications by 1/1. I suspect that companies with HQ outside of California may have a longer implementation cycle. If you see salary history questions, try to push the application through but leave the info blank for a California position. If you feel it is appropriate, politely let HR or recruiting know about the new law. The CalChamber Bulletin (below) can be downloaded and forwarded to them if you need a little back up.
If you are outside of California and are uncomfortable disclosing your salary, or you see the fields on a California application, I would suggest that you leave the salary history field blank. Alternatively, if the program won’t allow it, enter characters that let you move forward, just not your actual salary. Please careful with what you enter and how you present the information.
As a result of the law, it should make it easier for candidates taking on a significant career change to have a more equal playing field. There are so many reasons that job seekers look for a lower paying role, or even a much higher one. Simply put, the job should pay what the job pays. I am all for this particular regulation in the process.
Lastly, keep in mind, staffing firm recruiters are not employers. They can’t ask you either.
Kristina Drobocky Baitoo is a Career Strategist and Owner of KDB Coaching and Consulting. For more information about services or to schedule a free consultation, please contact her directly.
Please feel free to reach out if you have questions about this blog or need support developing a job application strategy.