News from the Reference Desk Category: Jobs

Employers no longer can ask for past salary information

Governor JB Pritzker has signed into law an amendment to the Illinois Equal Pay Act that bans employers and employment agencies from asking about applicants’ past wage and compensation histories or using such information to screen candidates for a job. The new law takes effect on September 29, 2019. The idea behind the new prohibition is to help break a cycle where predominantly female and minority workers have received lower pay for performing the same or similar work as male and non-minority workers. Employers are more likely to perpetuate this situation if they base the new employees’ pay on what they had previously earned.

Employers can be penalized for asking the applicant or the applicant’s current or former employers for wage or salary history. The prohibition does not apply if a job applicant’s salary history is a matter of public record or if the applicant is a current employee applying with the same employer. If an applicant voluntarily provides wage or salary history, the employer has not violated the law and would not be penalized. This information, however, is not to be used to make a hiring decision or to determine the applicant’s salary. Likewise, the new law does not prohibit an employer from asking an applicant what they desire to make at the new position. Department of Labor staff also are available to answer questions from both employers and employees on the new law and can be reached on DOL’s Equal Pay Act Hotline: 866-372-4365.

10 Impressive Questions to Ask in Your Job Interview

One of the most potentially stressful moments for people during job interviews is when they’re asked if they, themselves, have any questions for the interviewer. We’ve all been there! Experience shows that interviewees who are prepared with something are usually less stressed out about it, and have a better chance at impressing the potential employer. But which question is the RIGHT question? CLICK HERE for a great offering and analysis of ten useful questions any job seeker should keep in his or her pocket for that next interview.

Worried about an Employment Gap?

When you’ve been unemployed for a while and starting the job search/interview process, this “employment gap” can be worrisome and stressful. What is the best approach in explaining it to potential employers? Is there ANY good way? Well, the folks at CareerBuilder feel your pain, and have offered some tips and strategies for how to deal with this increasingly common issue here.

Get help with the Adult Career Center

Are you currently looking for a job? Need some help writing or polishing your resume? Want to brush up on your interviewing skills? Well MPPL has a resource for you! The Adult Career Center–found in our list of Web Resources at mppl.org–is the job/career side of Tutor.com, and offers a variety of services for job seekers including resume review, live career counseling and even interviewing tips! Simply login and authenticate with your MPPL library card, then create your own personal Tutor.com account to get started. Some features are available around the clock (like resume review–just submit it and an expert will review and reply with feedback within a few hours) while others are only accessible between 2-9 p.m. As always, research librarians are here to help you get started, so give it a try!

Talk to Your Teens About Money

It’s the time of year when many of us make decisions about our employee benefits for the coming year–“open enrollment” season. The Office of Financial Education, a part of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, offers this sound advice:

You can guide your children in finding the financial help they need

The financial world of today isn’t the same world you grew up in. New services and choices are being offered all the time. For your children to navigate the new financial world they’ll face, they need to know when to seek out information and how to evaluate it. Your children need practice making money choices, and they could use your guidance. At this age they may be earning some money of their own. Now, as you make benefits choices for next year, think about including your teenager in your decision-making process. You can help your teenager think about how to use information to make a good decision. If you have benefits fact sheets or Web sites from your employer, sit with your teenager and go through them. Talk through the questions your child has, and ask a few questions of your own:

  • What is the most important thing to think about for the family’s health care? Why?

  • Have there been any changes in the family since last year that could make a difference to health care? To insurance? To flexible spending dollars?

  • What could be the advantages or disadvantages of having benefits deducted from your paycheck, compared to paying the costs on your own?

  • How trustworthy is the information you receive? How would you look for further information?

You don’t have to do anything you wouldn’t do normally, when you make your benefits choices. Just by showing your teens how you approach enrollment, you’re helping them practice the decision-making process before their own paychecks are at stake. For more ideas, visit www.consumerfinance.gov/parents.