January 1, 2019

Hawaii Prohibits Employers From Asking About Salary History

The Hawaiian legislature conducted a study and confirmed that the state has a gender-based pay disparity. Although steps have been taken to eliminate this, the study showed that at the current level of progress, pay parity will not occur until around 2058.

To accelerate this process, Hawaii passed Senate Bill 2351 (SB 2351) which prohibits employers from asking applicants about their salary history. The bill states employers, employment agencies or their agents:

  • May not ask about salary history or rely on the salary history of an applicant when determining their salary, benefits or other forms of compensation.
  • May inquire about an applicant's salary expectations. If the applicant voluntarily offers their salary history, then that information may be verified and considered when determining salary, benefits or other forms of compensation.
  • May not use an applicant's salary history should that information be inadvertently revealed to them.
  • May not discriminate between employees based on gender by paying one person less than another when both perform an equal level of work under equal circumstances. Allowable reasons for pay disparity include a merit system, seniority or a bona fide occupational qualification.
  • May not discriminate or retaliate against any employee who discloses their salary, discusses wages with other employees or encourages others to exercise their right to discuss their salary.

SB 2351 does not apply to:

  • Employees who are being considered for promotions.
  • Public employee positions for which salary, benefits, or other types of compensation are determined pursuant to collective bargaining.

SB 2351 was signed by Hawaii Governor David Y. Ige and goes into effect January 1, 2019.

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