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NH Bill to Ban Salary-History Requests Gets Public Hearing

Advocates of banning salary-history requests on job applications say it could level the playing field for women and under-represented minorities. (Amtec US/Flickr)
Advocates of banning salary-history requests on job applications say it could level the playing field for women and under-represented minorities. (Amtec US/Flickr)
January 23, 2019

CONCORD, N.H. - The New Hampshire Legislature is considering a bill that would prevent employers from demanding that job applicants share their salary histories.

House Bill 211 is to get a public hearing at 1:30 p.m. today in the House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee. Rep. Patricia Klee, D-Nashua, a co-sponsor of the bill, said she supports it because it addresses inequities in compensation.

"My real issue for asking for salary history is that it kind of sets up a probable pay disparity," she said, "and as the bill states, we're talking about gender and race, and so on, and those go hand-in-glove with something like this."

A similar bill last session was killed on the House floor in March. However, Democrats took back majorities in the New Hampshire House and Senate in November, which could increase the chances of passage for HB 211.

Opponents could argue that employers need some pay information to help them make hiring decisions and already are restricted in other areas about what they can ask. Klee addressed the pro-business argument for considering past compensation in hiring.

"I know that people will look at it and say, 'Well, shouldn't the businesses have the ability to pick and choose?' And I do say yes, I don't believe that everything should be weighted towards the employee," she said. "But we need some fairness and try to create a level playing field."

After today's public hearing, the committee will make a recommendation about what to do next; that might be gathering more information or suggesting how the full House should vote on the bill. Ten states and Puerto Rico already have laws banning employers from asking about pay history, including Massachusetts and Vermont. However, Michigan and Wisconsin have passed legislation prohibiting salary-history bans.

The text of HB 211 is online at legiscan.com.

Laura Rosbrow-Telem, Public News Service - NH