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Survey of Pay Disclosure Laws Across the Country

September 2, 2022 Articles

There has been a wave of new state and local legislation focused on pay transparency for job applicants. Right now, Colorado State and Jersey City are the only jurisdictions that require employers to provide wage ranges in job postings. However, Washington State and several New York localities have passed similar laws, scheduled to go into effect within the next few months. California and New York State also have pending legislation that would require wage ranges in job postings.

Other jurisdictions have taken a different approach, with pay transparency laws requiring that employers provide wage ranges at an applicant’s request and/or compulsory disclosure at other points in the hiring/employment process.

The analysis below summarizes each jurisdiction’s requirements, organized by the type of transparency requirements and status.

Laws Requiring Wage Range Disclosures in Job Postings

Legislation Currently in Effect

  • Colorado - (7 CCR 1103-13; effective 1/1/2021) - In each job posting, employers must include the compensation range and a general description of benefits, bonuses, commissions, or other compensation to be offered (or a link to a separate website containing this information). According to Colorado’s Department of Labor guidance, this law only applies to employers that “employ at least one person in Colorado.” If an employer does not currently employ any Colorado staff, it does not need to comply with this law when posting for a remote job, even if a Coloradan applies. But if an employer employs any Colorado staff, it falls under the law’s requirements.
  • Jersey City - (Jersey City Municipal Code § 148-4.1; effective 4/13/2022) - For employers with a principal place of business in Jersey City and 5+ employees, any job posting circulating within the city must include a wage range and description of benefits.

Legislation That Will Be in Effect Within the Next Few Months

  • Washington - (Wash. Rev. Code § 49.58.110; effective 1/1/2023) - In each external job posting, employers must include the compensation range and a general description of benefits and other compensation to be offered. This law applies to employers with 15+ employees, but Washington’s Department of Labor & Industries has not yet issued guidance on whether some of those employees must reside in Washington to trigger compliance requirements or whether these requirements apply to postings for remote jobs.
  • Ithaca City, New York - (Ithaca City Code § 215-3(F); effective 9/1/2022) - In each posting for a job, promotion or transfer opportunity, employers must include the compensation range. This law only applies to employers with 4+ employees “whose standard work locations are in the city [of Ithaca],” suggesting that, if an employer does not currently employ 4+ Ithaca staff members, it does not need to comply with this law when posting for a remote job.
  • New York City, New York - (N.Y. Code § 8-107; effective 11/1/2022) - In each advertisement for a job, promotion, or transfer opportunity, employers must include the compensation range. According to New York’s City’s Commission on Human Rights guidance, this law only applies to employers with 4+ employees that employ at least one person who works in New York City (independent contractors count towards this threshold); the law applies to any positions that can or will be performed in New York City, including remote work.
  • Westchester County, New York - (Westchester County Laws § 700.03; effective 11/6/2022) - In each posting for a job, promotion, or transfer opportunity, employers must include the compensation range (not including “help wanted” or similar signs). This law only applies to postings for positions that are “required” to be performed, at least in part, in Westchester County, suggesting that, if an employer posts a remote job that can be performed anywhere, it does not need to comply with this law.

Pending Legislation

  • California - (SB 1162; must be signed by 9/30/2022) - This law would require any employer with 15+ employees to include wage ranges for positions in their job postings. This legislation has been passed by the legislature, and Gov. Newsom must provide a signature by 9/30/2022. (Please see a more detailed summary of California’s pending legislation here.)
  • New York - (S9427A; awaiting to be delivered to the Gov. for signature) - This law would require any employer with 4+ employees to include the wage ranges and job descriptions (if one exists) in their advertisements for a job, promotion, or transfer opportunity. This law would apply to postings for positions that can or will be performed, at least in part, in the State of New York, suggesting that it would apply to remote work. This legislation has been passed by the legislature and is awaiting delivery to the governor for signature, which may happen any time this calendar year.

Suspended Legislation

  • Ontario, Canada - In 2018, the Ontario government passed the Pay Transparency Act, which would have required employers to include information about a position’s expected compensation range in any publicly advertised job posting. The legislation was drafted to go into effect on January 1, 2019. However, the newly-elected Ontario Premier indefinitely suspended the Act, delaying its implementation to “a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor.” The Lieutenant Governor has not named a commencement date, and the government has not suggested any intention to do so. But it is possible that a future Lieutenant Governor may proclaim a commencement date, and subject to any future legislative changes, the Pay Transparency Act would go into effect at that time.

Laws Requiring Compulsory Wage Range Disclosures

Legislation Currently in Effect

  • Connecticut - (C.G.S.A. § 31-40z; effective 10/1/2021) - After any applicant has applied for a position, an employer must provide the position’s wage range upon the applicant’s request and/or when making an offer of compensation. The employer also must provide a wage range when a new employee is hired, a current employee changes position with the company, and/or upon the employee’s request. The law defines “wage range” as “the range of wages an employer anticipates relying on when setting wages for a position,” which may include reference to any applicable pay scale, actual wage ranges for current employees holding comparable positions, or the employer’s budgeted amount for the position.

    According to Connecticut’s Department of Labor guidance, this law does not apply to “any out of state ‘national’ employer which is not located within the State of Connecticut.” However, it does apply to a national employer’s subsidiary if it is “located within the physical confines of the state and hiring employees.”
     
  • Nevada - (NRS § 613.133; effective 10/1/2021) - When an external applicant completes an interview for a position, an employer must provide the position’s wage range. For internal applicants seeking promotion/transfer, an employer must only provide the wage range at the applicant’s request.

Legislation That Will Be in Effect Within the Next Year

  • Rhode Island - (R.I. Gen. Laws § 28-6-22(c); effective 1/1/2023) - The employer must provide a wage range when an employee is hired, a current employee moves into a new position, and/or upon the employee’s request. The employer also must provide a wage range upon an applicant’s request and “should” provide a wage range to an applicant prior to discussing compensation.

To comply with these laws, employers are encouraged to work with counsel to develop pay bands for each role in advance of posting the role and implement practices to proactively disclose wage ranges as required, including during recruiting, hiring, and on-boarding. None of these laws specify how employers must provide the wage range, so employers may find it preferable to verbally disclose wage ranges. However, verbal disclosures may create challenges in proving compliance should it be challenged months or years after the fact.

Laws Requiring Wage Range Disclosures Upon Request

  • California - (Cal. Labor Code § 432.3; effective 1/1/2019) - After an external applicant has completed an initial interview for a position, an employer must provide the position’s salary or hourly wage range upon the applicant’s reasonable request. As described above, California’s legislature has passed legislation that, pending Gov. Newsom’s signature, will expand these requirements. (Please see a more detailed summary of California’s pending legislation here.)
  • Maryland - (Md. Code Ann., Lab. & Empl. § 3-304.2(A); effective 10/1/2020) - Employers must provide the wage range for a position on an applicant’s request.
  • Washington - (Wash. Rev. Code § 49.58.110; effective 7/28/2019) - After any applicant (internal or external) has received an initial offer, employers with 15+ employees must provide a wage range for the position upon request.
  • Cincinnati, Ohio - (Cincinnati Municipal Code § 804-03(c); effective 4/12/2020) - For an employer located within Cincinnati and using services of 15+ employees within Cincinnati, after an applicant has received a conditional offer for employment to be performed within Cincinnati, the employer must provide the position’s pay scale upon reasonable request.
  • Toledo, Ohio - (Toledo Municipal Code § 768.02(c); effective 4/16/2020) - For an employer located within Toledo and using services of 15+ employees within Toledo, after an applicant has received a conditional offer for employment to be performed within Toledo, the employer must provide the position’s pay scale upon reasonable request.

To comply with these laws, employers are encouraged to work with counsel to develop pay bands for each role in advance of posting the role, and providing that information to an applicant upon request. When an applicant requests the wage range, an employer need only provide information about the wage range for the applicant’s position, and not for other positions within the company.

Going forward, employers should expect to see more jurisdictions introduce and pass similar pay disclosure laws. Stay on the lookout for new developments. 

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