Remember, It’s Not Illegal in Massachusetts to Share This Information
Just a reminder, you can share how much you make at work with anyone you want and not get in trouble for it in Massachusetts. This is protected by the Massachusetts Equal Pay Act, and the federal National Labor Relations Act.
I bring this up because I was talking with a friend about how much we make, and we both kind of hinted at it but never gave specifics. This got me thinking about two different things.
First, to keep it specific to Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Equal Pay Act, which started July 1, 2018, prohibits employers from doing a number of things regarding your pay. For the purposes of this article, it states that employers cannot stop you from talking openly about your salary with anyone you choose. It could be co-workers, family, friends, strangers, etc. You can tell whomever you want, and (in theory) not get in trouble or retaliated against for doing so. It doesn’t matter how much or how little you make. The only exception is if you work in HR and know everyone’s salary. Your boss can prohibit you from talking about how much everyone else makes.
So, you can absolutely go to your co-worker and discuss how much you’re paid. Of course, you can’t force your co-worker to share, but if he/she wants to, you can talk about it.
However, this got me thinking about something else. Why don’t more of us share how much we make? I could totally share how much I make in this article, but…I’m not going to. Why? I’m honestly not sure. Is it because I’m afraid to be judged? Is it socially frowned upon even if it’s legal? Am I worried the company will punish me indirectly for doing so? Maybe it’s a bit of everything in my case. How about you? Are you comfortable talking to people about how much money you earn?
The Massachusetts Equal Pay Act was passed for a number of reasons, including to make sure equal pay is happening in the workforce. It was put in place to help employees. So why does it seem so many people, myself included, are hesitant to share how much we make (or don’t make, in my case)?