The House and Senate have both adopted their own versions of legislation aimed at closing gender and racial wage gaps in the Commonwealth.

Commonly referred to as the Frances Perkins Workplace Equity bill, the legislation would require Massachusetts employers with 25 or more employees to disclose wage or salary ranges when hiring for a position — something that is already a common practice across local government.

The bill would also require all Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reports to be collected by the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth and aggregated by the state’s Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.

Like many employers, cities and towns are subject to certain federal reporting requirements, and municipalities with 100 or more employees must file reports with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. These biennial filings (EEO-4 reports) cover workforce demographic data, including data by race, ethnicity, sex, job category, and salary band.

The Frances Perkins Workplace Equity Act would create a process for the state to compile and analyze the aggregated EEOC report data. The legislation also seeks to avoid any administrative burden on local officials by simply requiring the submission of any existing EEOC report to the secretary of state.

The MMA testified in support of the legislation in May, saying it is an appropriate first step toward closing gender and racial wage gaps in the Commonwealth. MMA testimony highlighted the leadership being demonstrated by local officials on wage equity issues and the importance of passing the bill this session.

The MMA was joined at the hearing by a large coalition of advocates, business leaders, local athletes, and government officials pushing for Massachusetts to be a national leader in addressing wage gaps.

The House and Senate have passed similar versions of the bill — the House on Oct. 4 and the Senate on Oct. 19 — but have appointed a conference committee to reconcile differences and propose a final version for passage. One component up for discussion will be whether to exempt state and local governments from the salary range requirement if they already make salary data publicly available.

Once a final bill is enacted, it would go to the governor for her consideration.

Written by