Maryland Strengthens Equal Pay Laws
Maryland Equal Pay for Equal Work Act
The Maryland Equal Pay for Equal Work Act went into effect on October 1, 2016. (Md. Labor And Employment Code Ann. § 3-301, et seq.). The Act targets Maryland’s gender wage gap, already one of the country’s smallest, and extends to disparities based on gender identity as well as sex. The new law also encompasses employment opportunities—not just wages—and promotes transparency by guaranteeing employees’ right to discuss wages.
Employers Covered by the Act
The Act applies to any “business, industry, profession, trade, or other enterprise in the State.” Small businesses are not excluded and the benefits apply to State and local governments as well.
Equal Pay and Employment Opportunities
The Act contains three significant worker protections:
- Employers cannot pay employees of one sex or gender identity more than employees of the opposite sex or gender identity, if they perform similar work in the same county.
- Employers must provide favorable career tracks and information about promotions without regard to sex or gender identity.
- Employees must allow employees to discuss wages and cannot take adverse action against employees who do.
To comply with the Act, employers must keep records of employee wages, job classifications, and other conditions of employment.
Notably, the law does allow for non-discriminatory variations in wage. This means disparities in pay are allowed if based on factors such as education, training, experience, or performance.
Penalties for Violations
Employees who are denied equal pay may be awarded twice the difference in pay and an injunction against future violations.
If you have been denied equal pay, or you are an employer seeking help to comply with the Equal Pay Act, please contact one of our attorneys for assistance.