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New Pay Transparency Laws in California, Washington, Colorado, and New York

published January 23, 2023

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New Pay Transparency Laws in California, Washington, Colorado, and New York

Understanding the Requirements for Including Salary Information in Job Postings

In 2023, significant changes to pay transparency laws are being implemented throughout the country. Those in favor of pay transparency argue that including salary information in job descriptions is beneficial for both employers and potential candidates. It can save employers time and provide valuable information to job seekers, while also promoting fairness and equality in the workplace. Additionally, states like California, Washington, and Colorado now mandate that employers disclose pay information in all job postings. While Oregon and Portland have implemented laws supporting pay equity, they have yet to require salary transparency in job postings. However, Oregon employers should exercise caution as laws in neighboring states may still apply to them.

Impact on Employers and Potential Candidates

California's new pay transparency law took effect on January 1st. In addition to changes in employer reporting requirements, the law now requires employers with 15 or more employees to include the pay scale for positions in all job postings, including third-party job postings such as online recruitment listings. Employers are also obligated to provide current employees with the pay scale for their position when requested.

State-by-State Breakdown of Pay Transparency Laws and their Enforcement

Washington state also has a new law that took effect on January 1st, requiring employers of 15 or more people to include a wage scale or salary range in job postings, along with a general description of all benefits and other compensation offered to applicants when hired. The Washington Department of Labor and Industries has clarified that not all 15 employees need to be physically present in Washington, as long as the employer has one or more employees based in Washington, the law applies. The requirement applies whether the employer posts the job directly or indirectly, such as through a recruiter or online listing. Additionally, for internal transfers or promotions, employers are still required to provide a wage scale or salary range upon employee request.

Starting September 17th, New York state law will impose similar pay transparency obligations on employers. Employers with at least four employees must include the minimum and maximum annual salary or hourly range of compensation for the position in any job, promotion, or transfer opportunity advertisement. This requirement is similar to the existing pay transparency requirements for employers in New York City, which apply to any employer of four or more employees that employs at least one person in New York City. The New York state law goes further, by requiring employers to disclose the applicable job description, if one exists, and keep records to evidence compliance.

These new laws follow the implementation of Colorado's Equal Pay for Equal Work Act in 2021. The act requires employers to include payment information, as well as other compensation and benefits, in job postings. This requirement applies to any employer employing a person in the state of Colorado, regardless of the size of the employer or whether the position is remote for a non-Colorado company. When the requirement first took effect, some employers tried including "not accepting Colorado applicants" in their job postings, but the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment has made it clear that this will not exempt an employer from the law's application.

Potential Implications for Portland-based Businesses and Remote Workforce

Although Oregon has not yet enacted job posting requirements, Portland-based businesses may still be impacted by the laws of neighboring states. With the growing presence of Portland businesses nationwide and the trend towards remote work, Portland-based employers have a wider reach than ever before. If you meet the employee count requirements of these laws and have employees in covered states or cities, the law may apply to your business, regardless of where you are located.

Why your company may be required to include salary information in job postings
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