Rep. Tarr’s wage disclosure bill is good for employers, employees, and business
JUNEAU – Rep. Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage) has pre-filed the “Wage Disclosure Act” for consideration by the Alaska Legislature.
House Bill 200 would require employers to include wage or salary ranges when advertising jobs, explicitly allowing all employees to disclose and discuss their wages. The bill would also prohibit employers from asking for an applicant’s wage history or using it as a basis for future wages or benefits without an applicant’s voluntary consent.
“This bill is good for employers because the information will help limit applicants to only those truly interested in a position, and it’s good for employees because it establishes expectations for the new position, without any reference to a previous job,” Representative Tarr said. “When employers only list phrases such as ‘depending on experience,’ all applicants are at a disadvantage as they won’t know if it is worth investing time and effort to apply for a job. This especially harms women and minorities who have historically been underpaid.”
The Alaska Department of Labor reports that women in Alaska earn an average of 72 cents for every dollar that men earn, less than the national average of 80 cents. National data shows the disparity is greater with black women, who earn 64 cents for every dollar a man earns, and Hispanic women who earn 56 cents for every dollar. Women in Alaska make up a larger percentage of workers in occupations requiring postsecondary education, but men earn more at every level. A system that bases future wages on past wages perpetuates this pay gap.
“By making pay levels transparent, individuals are empowered with information, leading to better job placement and in turn allowing businesses and organizations to excel because they are staffed with dedicated employees,” Representative Tarr added.
HB200 was pre-filed for formal introduction when the second session of the 31st Alaska State Legislature convenes in Juneau on Tuesday.