The U.S. federal government, which employs 2.2 million workers, wants to ban hiring managers from asking candidates about their salary history, Axios reports.

The aim of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which introduced the proposal Wednesday, is to further pay equity, particularly for women and people of color.

On average, women earn 84 cents for every dollar paid to a man. Federal government jobs, which are more transparent about salaries and have set procedures for raises and promotions, pay women 94 cents on the dollar, compared to men. That drops to just 85 cents for Black women and 73 cents for Native American women.

The government hopes omitting salary history from the hiring process will “root out some of the historical pay inequities that are more prevalent outside of federal government,” says Rob Shriver, deputy director of OPM. “We don’t want to be bringing those into the federal government.”

When female job candidates are not required to disclose their previous pay in interviews, they land jobs with higher salaries, both full-time and hourly, even during a recession, research shows.

There are laws in 21 states and 22 localities precluding employers from asking about a candidate’s previous pay.

The proposal stems from the Biden administration’s 2021 executive order to expand diversity, equity and inclusion among federal agencies.

OPM’s proposal was published in the Federal Register Thursday and is open for public comments for the next 30 days.


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