BOSTON (Legal Newsline) — Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced March 1 that the updated Massachusetts Equal Pay Act will go into effect this summer, and that her office has issued new guidance to help employers navigate the new rules.
“More than 70 years after Massachusetts became the first state to pass an equal pay law, we still have not achieved equality in our state," Healey said in a statement. "We’ve now updated that law to be among the strongest in the country and taken an important step toward closing a gender pay gap that hurts Massachusetts women and families.
“I thank our many partners for their help in drafting this guidance, which will assist employers in identifying and eliminating unlawful wage disparities. Working together, we can create a stronger and more equitable economy for everyone.”
The amended law, which takes effect July 1, clarifies gender-based wage discrimination definitions. It also offers incentives to employers who make changes to existing gender-based pay disparities.
“[About] $11 billion is lost from the Massachusetts economy each year because of the wage gap. That is $11 billion that women and families could spend in local stores and restaurants, or save for the future,” Jesse Mermell, president of The Alliance for Business Leadership, said in a statement. "This guidance moves us closer to closing the gap, paying women fairly, and making Massachusetts a more equitable place to live, work and do business."