These states are leading the charge to close the wage gap. Here’s what you need to know about their new law.

According to the United States Census Bureau, women are paid 79 cents for every dollar that men earn — with black and hispanic women earning less than that. While this shocking statistic is common knowledge and a hot-button issue, what steps are concretely being taken to close the historic wage gap? Sure, federal law prohibits gender-based pay discrimination, but violations are ever-persistent and hard to prove. Despite its slow momentum, however, change is happening and it’s starting with this new law.

With Massachusetts leading the charge in August of 2017, California, Oregon, Delaware, and Puerto Rico  have now made certain salary questions illegal, with the laws going into effect at the end of 2017 and into 2018. Now it's illegal for employers to ask the dreaded “What is your current salary?” question during an interview, and the cities of New Orleans, New York City, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia have also outlawed this practice in full or limited capacities.

The law requires hiring managers to state a position’s compensation upfront based on the applicant's worth to their company, rather than their previous salary. This will ensure that lower wages, which are historically provided to women and minorities, do not follow them throughout their careers. Go, pay equality!

While other states will hopefully follow suit and make salary interview questions illegal, what does this mean for those of us who don’t live in these areas? It means that our interview, and specifically our salary negotiation preparation, remains unchanged. Arm yourself with the knowledge necessary to negotiate a fair wage, and help kick-start a national revolution.  How do you do this exactly? Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Research, research, research: Know your industry, know your worth! Be prepared to talk about your previous salary and why it shouldn’t impact the new offer being made. Yes, this is legitimate! Click on the following link for more tips on how to handle salary interview questions during a job interview.

Know what to say: While there are many methods to employ when it comes to salary negotiation, there are a few phrases you should never use. What are they? Click on the following link for the full list.

Know when to talk money: During an interview, it can be tough to strike the right balance between being open and not disclosing information that could put you at a disadvantage down the line. Keep in mind that you are interviewing for a new position at a different company with its own set of budgetary guidelines, and your current salary is not relevant to the decision. Here are some more tips on addressing the salary question.

Pick up on illegal questions: According to a survey conducted by Harris Poll, a shocking 20 percent of over 2,000 hiring and human resource managers surveyed indicated they have asked a candidate an illegal question. Since you cannot always rely on hiring managers to do the right thing, here is a complete guide to handling inappropriate interview questions.

Prepare for the actual interview: No matter how much time and effort you’ve invested in preparing for an interview, pre-game jitters can happen to the most qualified and put together candidates. A little excitement can keep you present, paying attention, and on your toes, but too much anxiety can throw off your performance. Here are a few simple job interview tips you can follow ahead of time that can set you up for a win.

Even though change hasn’t occurred nationwide, there are inklings of hope for a fairer tomorrow. According to a survey conducted by Harris Poll and Glassdoor, 53 percent of U.S. workers believe employers should not ask about current salary or salary history during job negotiations. By standing your ground, knowing what the law is, and knowing how to negotiate if the law isn’t in effect in your area, you can help push equal pay everywhere.   

Click on the following link for more advice on salary negotiation.

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