Tuesday, November 22, 2016
City Hall, 1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19107

Testimony by: Rob Wonderling, President and CEO, Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia

Good morning, Councilman Greenlee and members of the Committee on Law and Government. I am Rob Wonderling, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia. Thank you for the opportunity to testify on Bill No. 160840.

Much like members of this body, the Chamber shares concerns over wage inequality that exists among women and minorities when compared to white or male counterparts. The Chamber thanks City Council for its concern and willingness to take action to even the playing field for all employees.

However, we remain concerned about the proposed Wage Equity legislation due to a number of reasons including government overreach, absence of important information in the overall hiring process, varying business needs, potential lawsuits and unknown consequences.

The Chamber’s mission is to attract, retain and grow jobs for the city and region. We follow principles of economic competitiveness to guide our public policy. We believe that “Government rules and regulations should provide for safe and responsive business operations, but should not be onerous, costly, or out of context with competitive locations. These regulations should be appropriate for the level of government enacting them (local, state, or Federal). Government must be conscious of the overall cost of doing business — taxes, fees, insurance, regulatory expense — so as to provide a competitive business environment.”

Using this framework, we believe that Bill No. 160840 goes too far in dictating how employers can interact with potential hires.

When employers look at a candidates’ salary history, they have a better understanding of whether a candidate is worth pursuing based on previous compensation levels as well as the market value or salaries for comparable positions. A salary history can serve as a benchmark to ensure that an organization is in fact paying a market-value wage for positions.

In speaking with our members, particularly those serving in a human resources capacity, we hear that compensation decisions are based on a number of different factors such as market value, internal equity, funding limitations and competition. It is not made based on a candidate’s past salary history, gender or race.

Another reason that we remain concerned about this legislation is that not all businesses and organizations are a