Workers want ban on pay history disclosure
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July 24, 2017

There is a growing concern among Ghanaian workers about the disclosure of salary history, with some requesting strict regulations to prohibit employers from asking prospective employees about their previous salary.

According to some Ghanaian workers, the disclosure of salary history, often demanded by employers at job interviews and negotiations, adversely affects their bargaining power.

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“You should be able to negotiate on the merit of your skills and qualifications, without any reference to your previous salary,” Ernest Arhin, mechanical engineer, told ADR Daily in a survey.

Ernest, who has switched two jobs in the automobile industry in four years, “I have found it unbeneficial when the employer virtually demands to know your last pay level.”

Adelaide Adams, a communications specialist, said she was once denied a job because she refused to disclose her previous salary.

“At the next interview, I had no option than to reveal it,” she told ADR Daily.

For Abdulai Osam, a professional teacher who has switched jobs in international schools in Ghana, he described the practice as “unfair.”

According to him, “my previous salary should not place any role in determining the salary for my new job.”

“Employers should focus and negotiate salaries based on what the prospective employee is bringing on board,” says Yaw Agyepong, a brewery manager.

“People move because they have new skills, higher qualification of which they require commensurable pay. So if you are going to determine their new salaries with their previous pay in mind, then they have not gained anything,” he added.

The Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651) is silent on the disclosure of previous pay, but Section 68 stipulates that “every worker shall receive equal pay for equal work without distinction of any kind,” while Section 10(b) institutes equal pay for equal work as a right of the worker.

In other jurisdictions, there is a prohibition on salary history, while other countries without a ban continue to campaign against the practice.

Last year, Massachusetts passed a bill requiring equal pay for equal work. The bill also banned employers in the Commonwealth from asking prospective hires for their salary history, making Massachusetts the first state in the US to enact such a law.

It was followed by California and the New York States, leading to adoption consideration of the legislation that would make asking for salary history illegal nationwide.

By Nii Adotey/

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