CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire employers could not prohibit their workers from discussing how much they are paid under a bill passed by the House on Wednesday.

The House voted 183-125 to send the Senate a bill that allows employers to pay workers different amounts based on such factors as seniority, merit, production and education.

Supporters argued the bill is a step toward ensuring men and women are paid equally for comparable work by allowing them to discuss what their employer is paying them.

“If you cannot talk about it, you cannot know about it. That’s why these gag rules exist,” said Rep. Douglas Ley, D-Jaffrey.

Opponents agreed that it is wrong for employers to discriminate based on gender, but argued allowing workers to discuss how much they are paid could cause discord in the workplace.

“We are not saying we believe women should be paid less for the same job. We find that despicable,” said Rep. William Infantine, R-Manchester.

The Senate is considering a similar bill. Gov. Maggie Hassan has urged lawmakers to pass legislation addressing inequalities in pay between men and women.

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