Maryland Significantly Expands Equal Pay for Equal Work Act

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All Employers with Maryland Employees

EFFECTIVE

October 1, 2016

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(888) 378-2456

HB 1003 amends Maryland’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Act of 2016 (“the Act”) to include significant new provisions designed to (1) prohibit pay discrimination based on gender identity, and (2) boost pay transparency.  The Act already prohibits wage differentials on the basis of sex, where employees “work in the same establishment and perform work of comparable character, or work on the same operation in the same business or of the same type.”

New, key amendments to the Act include:

 

Prohibited Pay Discrimination Amendments

  • Prohibits pay discrimination on the basis of gender identity, in addition to sex;
  • Prohibits pay discrimination in the form of providing less favorable job opportunities, based upon sex or gender identity;
  • Expands the definition of “in the same establishment” to mean separate physical workplaces/locations located in the same county; and
  • Adds specific exceptions to account for wage differentials:
    • a system that measures performance based on a quality or quantity of production; or
    • a bona fide factor other than sex or gender identity (including education, training or experience), provided that the factor is not based on or derived from a gender-based differential in compensation, is job related and consistent with business necessity, and accounts for the entire differential.

 

Pay Transparency Provision

  • Allows employees to inquire into, discuss, or disclose their own wages or a co-worker’s wages, except for wage information obtained through an employee’s job function (e.g., payroll administrator);
  • Prohibits employers from forcing employees to sign a waiver of their right to discuss or disclose wages;
  • Prohibits employers from retaliating, or taking adverse action, against employees who inquire into, discuss, or disclose their wages, or encourage or a co-worker to do the same; and
  • Allows employers to establish “reasonable workday limitations” on time, place and the manner for discussing wages.

Finally, the Act also extends the statute of limitations for a claim to three years after discovery of the action on which the lawsuit is based, rather than three years after the date of action itself, mirroring current federal requirements.

Action Items:

  • Review the text of HB 1003 HERE.
  • Contact ManagEase at (888) 230-3231 to engage ManagEase’s services for: compensation audits, compensation structuring, or compensation market surveys, and to update handbooks or other policy documents, as well as:
    • Training of staff members who make compensation-related decisions.
    • Auditing of employee job descriptions and compensation rates to confirm that they are in compliance with the expanded regulations.
    • Updating handbooks or other policy documents reviewed to remove language that prohibits employees from discussing pay.  Arrange for training of supervisory staff on employees’ rights to inquire into compensation.
  • Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

© 2016 ManagEase, Incorporated.

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