Supporting pay equity

Supporting pay equity
April 12, 2021

Louisville Water recently received a shout out in a Courier-Journal opinion piece about equal pay for women.

The author, Teena Halbig, public policy chair for AAUW (American Association of University Women) of Louisville, noted that the organization worked to get the Louisville Metro Council to pass the Ban Salary History Ordinance in 2018. Because the ordinance prevents job applicants from being asked about pay history when they apply for a local government position, it can help promote salary equity.

Halbig pointed out that Louisville Water and Louisville MSD "both agreed they would not ask job applicants for their prior pay history in the future even though they did not have to."

In fact, Louisville Water removed salary history questions from job applications even before the ordinance was passed ― in 2017. According to Terrence Spence, Vice President of Human Resources & Labor Relations, "There are a host of reasons not to request salary history from job applicants, but most notable is the potential negative impact it can have on women and minority job candidates."

"National and local census data shows, historically, female job applicants, especially women of color, are likely to have lower prior salaries than their male counterparts," Spence explained. "Because of this disparity, employers who rely on salary history to select job applicants and/or set new hires’ pay can continue to perpetuate (even if unintentionally) gender- and race-based compensation disparities in their workforce.

“So in order to increase pay equity opportunity, Louisville Water decided to remove the request for pay history from the application process and base all hiring decisions, including compensation, strictly on qualifications, experience, and applicable skill sets."