Friedman, Senate Pass Legislation Addressing Massachusetts Pay Inequities

Bill would boost salary transparency, tackle unfair compensation for women and people of color

(BOSTON–10/19/2023) Today, the Massachusetts Senate passed legislation to tackle pay inequities in the state, which significantly and disproportionately impact women and people of color across the Commonwealth. Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) voted to advance the bill, which passed with overwhelming support in the chamber. The bill targets these inequities by empowering employees with salary information, including when they are seeking jobs and receiving promotions, and by giving the state new data tools to track employment trends.

The bill, S.2468, also known as the Frances Perkins Workplace Equity Act, empowers job applicants by requiring employers with 25 or more employees to include salary range information in job postings. It also requires employers to provide salary ranges to employees offered a promotion or a transfer, as well as to employees currently working in a position, should they ask.

“This bill takes a tremendous step towards addressing pay inequities in the Commonwealth,” said Senator Friedman, Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “The statistics speak for themselves: women, especially women of color, face significant disparities in the level of pay they receive for the same work as their white, male counterparts. By bringing the business community to the table, this bill allows us to provide the transparency and protections our workers and job seekers need to live, succeed, and grow in the Commonwealth. I thank Senate President Karen Spilka for seeing this bill across the finish line in the Senate and for being a steadfast champion of pay equity for many years.”

If signed into law by the Governor, the legislation would boost Massachusetts’ ability to track pay discrepancies. It requires employers with 100 or more employees to file annual employment data reports, including information on employee demographics and salaries, with the state. In addition, the bill directs the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development to track compensation data and file an annual report on data showing the Commonwealth’s progress toward equal pay for equal work.

The bill marks another step forward for pay equity in a state with a long history on the topic. Massachusetts was the first state in the nation to pass pay equity legislation in 1945, and most recently passed legislation in 2016, when the legislature passed An Act to Establish Pay Equity, which barred employers from asking prospective employees about their salary history and guaranteed the right of workers to discuss salary with other employees. The Governor signed the bill later that year.

According to a report from the National Women’s Law Center, women in Massachusetts who are employed full-time earn 85.7 cents for every dollar that men make. Women of color face even steeper inequities: Black women make 58.1 cents per dollar; Hispanic women make 53 cents; Native American women make 66 cents; and Asian women make 91 cents.[1]

The legislation would boost awareness of the rights it guarantees employees, by directing the Attorney General to begin an outreach and awareness campaign. It would also give the Attorney General new authority to enforce the law among employers in the state.

A previous version of this bill having passed the House of Representatives, the two branches will now reconcile the differences between the bills, before sending it to the Governor’s desk.


[1] Report issued in March 2023, based on NWLC survey data from 2021,