Massachusetts Equal Pay Act

Massachusetts Equal Pay Act

The Massachusetts Equal Pay Act (MEPA) is a law enacted to ensure equal pay for comparable work for all Massachusetts workers. The Act was signed into law on August 21, 2016, by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and will go into effect on July 1, 2018.

What Does the Act Do?

The Act does three things:

  1. It prohibits employers from asking job applicants about salary history, with the exceptions of when a candidate voluntarily discloses his or her pay, or the employer extends an offer of employment to the candidate.
  2. It prohibits employers from requiring that employees refrain from discussing wage information, with an exception for employees whose job it is to safeguard pay information. 
  3. It requires that employers provide equal pay for comparable work.

See details below.

Provisions of the Act

Pay History
The Act prohibits employers from asking job applicants about salary history, with two exceptions:

  • The candidate voluntarily discloses his or her pay; or
  • The employer extends an offer of employment to the candidate with stated compensation.

Pay Transparency
The Act prohibits employers from requiring that employees refrain from discussing wage information.

  • An employee whose position provides him/her with access to salary data can be prohibited from discussing pay information.

Comparable Work
The Act considers comparable work to be work that is “substantially similar in skill, effort, and responsibility, and is performed under similar working conditions.”

  • The Act still allows for wage fluctuations within comparable jobs based upon the following criteria: seniority; merit; commissions; geography; travel; education, training or experience.
  • Market conditions are not a justification for wage fluctuations.

See details about each of these provisions in our FAQs.

What Can I Do?

As a Recruiter or Hiring Manager
  • Do not ask a candidate about salary history unless the candidate volunteers salary information or you have extended an offer of employment.
  • For MIT employees, you may verify their pay with the Compensation Office.
  • You may ask candidates what their pay "expectations" are.
As a Manager or Supervisor
  • You may remind employees that they do not have to discuss a colleague's pay if they don’t want to.
  • Ensure that employees with access to pay information as part of their job responsibilities do not discuss that information with other employees.
As an Employee
  • If you have questions about any of the provisions in the Act, please contact your manager or local HR representative.

Where Can I Learn More?

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