Governor Carney Signs Legislation to Address Gender Pay Gap

Delaware will become first state to prohibit employers from requesting salary history

DOVER, Del. – Governor John Carney on Wednesday signed a new law that will prevent employers from requesting the salary history of job applicants and will help close the pay gap between men and women.

Sponsored by House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst, the bipartisan legislation – which takes effect in December – also explicitly prohibits employers from screening applicants based on previous compensation history.

Delaware will become the first state to enact such changes into law. Massachusetts passed a similar measure last year that will take effect in January.

“All Delawareans should expect to be compensated equally for performing the same work,” said Governor Carney. “This new law will help guarantee that across our state, and address a persistent wage gap between men and women. Thank you to Representative Longhurst and members of the General Assembly of both parties for your leadership on this issue.”

Governor Carney signs HS 1 to HB 1.
Governor Carney signs HS 1 to HB 1.

“Pay inequity should not exist in the first place,” said Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long. “Unfortunately, women often have to work harder for our success and to be paid the same as our male counterparts. We still only make 78 cents for every dollar a man makes. This legislation will provide a crucial step toward equalizing wages and eliminating this gap. We owe it to the hardworking women and mothers out there today, and our young girls who will make up our future workforce, to create a level playing field for all of them.”


“Closing the wage gap is a major economic issue for our state and we should do everything in our power as legislators to work to even the playing field and empower the next generation of young women,” said Representative Longhurst. “Delaware is making history today, as we will be the first state to have a wage history law in effect. This new law will protect all prospective employees from having their previous jobs’ salary potentially used against them when seeking work. People should be judged and paid based on their qualifications and not have their previous salaries count against them.”

“It’s one thing to say that we need to do better for women; it’s another thing to take action,” said Senate Majority Leader Margaret Rose Henry. “HS 1 for HB 1 takes real steps to protect women in the workforce where it often matters most: the hiring table. Without wage secrecy protections, employers are free—and, in fact, have an incentive—to perpetuate substantial, long-term wage discrimination against women. We still have a long way to go, but this will make a real difference not only for women in the workforce, but for the 40 percent of households that rely on a woman as their primary wage-earner.”

“I am proud to be a sponsor of this legislation. All issues as they relate to wages and salary schedules should be gender-neutral,” said House Minority Whip Deborah Hudson. “A person’s gender should not be a factor in what we pay an individual for a particular job. This bill ensures we make that happen.”

“I believe one of my jobs in the Senate is to help create a level playing field for all people,” said Senator Cathy Cloutier. “This legislation is one step closer to true job equality for everyone.”