Wed, May 18, 2022

The question to Truworths ‘Why don’t you disclose pay information in job adverts that target vulnerable youth?’ started a protest journey against anti-poor and anti-trust corporate behavior that learns from successful international precedents.


Omitting pay information in job averts is not pro-poor and places vulnerable applicants with weak negotiation skills at an unfair disadvantage.  Section 23.1 of the South African Constitution says ‘Everyone is entitled to fair labour practice’ and given that income inequality is on the rise in South Africa, non disclosure of pay ranges is unfair.

Truworths said ‘advertising employment opportunities without a salary range is not an unusual practice in South Africa’ however they and other firms are ignoring the increasing dissatisfaction that is rising among populations worldwide.

Withholding pay information, like many other behaviors complicit with collusion, exploitation and corruption, are indeed not ‘unusual practice’ – and that still doesn’t make it right.

Why Massachusetts, US Banned Questions About pay

Massachusetts has become the first state to bar employers from asking about applicants’ salaries before offering them a job.

The new law will require hiring managers to state a compensation figure upfront — based on what an applicant’s worth is to the company, rather than on what he or she made in a previous position.

By barring companies from asking prospective employees how much they earned at their last jobs, Massachusetts will ensure that the historically lower wages and salaries assigned to women and minorities do not follow them for their entire careers. Companies tend to set salaries for new hires using their previous pay as a base line thereby creating a pattern of low wages.

The Massachusetts law, which will go into effect in July 2018, also takes other steps to combat pay discrimination:

  • Companies will not be allowed to prohibit workers from telling others how much they are paid, this can increase salary transparency and help employees discover disparities.
  • The law will require equal pay not just for workers whose jobs are alike, but also for those whose work is of “comparable character” or who work in “comparable operations.” Workers with more seniority will still be permitted to earn higher pay, but the law effectively broadens the definition of what is equal work.

Other states have also improved their protections

  • Maryland passed a law that requires equal pay for “comparable” work,
  • California enacted a law that is one of the nation’s strictest, requiring employers to be able to prove that they pay workers of both genders equally for “substantially similar” jobs. It, too, had the backing of important local trade groups, including the California Chamber of Commerce.

And Massachusetts joins at least 12 other states that already require companies to let employees compare notes about how much they are paid.

The distinguishing feature in the Massachusetts law is that job seekers will no longer be compelled to disclose their salary or wages at their current or previous jobs — which often leaves applicants with the nagging suspicion that they might have been offered more money if the earlier figure had been higher. People will still be allowed to volunteer their salary information.

Commerce and Community

In Massachusetts, the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce was an early and enthusiastic backer. This united the women’s caucus driving the Bill with business leaders who were also asking for it.

The Massachusetts attorney general will be in charge of enforcing the law, which also gives workers the right to sue companies directly for violations.

In June, 28 businesses nationwide, including large employers like Gap, Pepsi and American Airlines, signed an Equal Pay Pledge promoted by the White House in which they committed to conducting annual audits of their pay by gender across all job categories.

“Companies that want to do the right thing are seeing that these new laws really pose no threat,” said Vicki Shabo, vice president of the National Partnership for Women & Families, which tracks the fair pay bills introduced in state legislatures. 

Transparency Benefits Business and Society

Businesses are also beginning to talk more openly about the often uncomfortable things those audits find.

Price Waterhouse Coopers published the results of a pay analysis it did of its British staff. It found a 15.1 percent pay disparity between men and women, and changed its promotion practices to bring more women into senior leadership roles. Salesforce, a cloud software company, says it spent $3 million last year to raise the salaries of female employees to match their male counterparts.

Academic research has illustrated the negative effect pay disparity has not just on individuals, but also on the broader economy. Closing the gender wage gap would lower the poverty rates in every state, according to an analysis by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

Read the complete New York Times article


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It's vital #youth learn their rights when seeking employment. Recruiters who are not upfront about pay but ask questions about your wage expectations are unlawful. ... See MoreSee Less
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