Governor Tom Wolf has signed an executive order to change certain hiring practices in select state government jobs, in an effort to cut down on gender-based wage discrimination.
He’s also throwing his weight behind several bills and proposed bills that would do the same things across the commonwealth. The major policy change, Wolf said, is that applicants’ salary histories will no longer be discussed during the hiring process.
“This is going to help ensure that salary decisions are made based on job responsibilities and applicants’ experience and skill set, rather than on previous employment history which may be tainted by the effects of this wage gap,” he said.
Asked why he hadn’t made the change sooner, Wolf was contrite.
“I’ve got to say, I wasn’t sensitive to the issue of asking questions until just recently — it’s become, I think, a national issue and I became aware of it,” he said. “So, my bad.”
The National Women’s Law Center has estimated women in Pennsylvania make 79 percent of men’s salaries, on average — and that number is even worse for women of color.
The governor’s order would only impact non-union state jobs — 15,571 positions total, 2,189 of which are vacant.
He said the administration is hoping to negotiate similar changes for union jobs in the future.