Atlanta mayor 'bans the salary box' to help close pay gap for women

Mayor Bottoms said the action will help close the pay gap for women

ATLANTA — If you're applying for a job with the city of Atlanta, you will no longer be asked how much you earned in your last job.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told Channel 2's Lori Wilson taking that box off an application can help women close the pay gap.

Bottoms said it is an effort to level the playing field so that all people can maximize their paycheck

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“It was as simple as delete on our applications,” Bottoms said.

The mayor told Wilson this is the right time to take the question of pay history off of city job applications.

“It's an extension of ‘ban the box.’ We're banning the salary box,” Bottoms said.


The "ban the box" initiative took the question of criminal history off of applications and the mayor says so far, it's been successful.

“It's given us an opportunity to get an even larger applicant pool. In some cases, it's given people an opportunity for a well-deserved second chance,” Bottoms said.

She hopes taking the pay history question off of applications will build on that success. Depending on who you source, the wage gap varies.

The U.S. Department of Labor says nationwide, women make 80 cents on the dollar compared to men. Black women make just 63 cents.

A study by The American Association of University Women says the gap is more like a 6-12 percent difference.

The mayor says closing that gap is good for everyone.

“This is not a handout. This is not something we're doing special for any one group,” Bottom said. “It gives you an opportunity to improve your salary simply based on what your experience is and your qualifications are.”

Bottoms hopes other cities and the state will follow her lead.