Job seekers across the country are likely to get more information about what a position pays inside classifieds in 2023 as major states join a growing push toward salary transparency.
New laws that go into effect in California and Washington state on Jan. 1 require employers with at least 15 employees to disclose salary ranges for open positions. A similar law will go into effect in New York later in 2023, and is already in place in Colorado.
With the adoption of these laws in the nation’s largest states, it is possible that the inclusion of salary information in job listings could spread across the country as businesses take a uniform approach to compliance. A co-sponsor of the California law said it could be a “win-win” for both employers and employees.
“It could be beneficial for employers so they don’t have to go through the long process of interviewing a candidate only to find out they’re not willing to accept the offer,” said Jessica Ramey Stender, policy director and deputy. legal director of San Francisco-based gender justice nonprofit group Equal Rights Advocates in an interview with MarketWatch on Thursday. He added that the salary ranges could also attract candidates who might not otherwise have applied for a position.
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In California, the law also expands required pay data reporting by companies on all workers, including contractors, and allows workers to ask their employers for the salary range of their current positions. In Washington, the law also requires companies to provide salary ranges upon request when an employee is offered an internal transfer or promotion.
The overall goal of this type of legislation is to address persistent racial and gender wage gaps, Stender said.
“Nearly 60 years after the passage of the federal Equal Pay Act, women and people of color still suffer from widespread pay gaps,” she said. “It’s up to all of us to continue pushing for stronger equal pay laws that address the drivers of pay gaps.”
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For example, findings released by the California Department of Fair Housing and Employment earlier this year show that women and people of color are overrepresented in low-wage jobs, earning $30,679 or less in 2020, and underrepresented in the highest paying jobs, earning $128,960. or more in 2020. The findings are based on data collected by the agency from filings by private employers in California with 100 or more employees, as required by an approved state payroll data disclosure law in 2020.
Stender said California’s inclusion of an expansion of transparency requirements about the demographics and pay of contract workers is significant. Many California tech companies use contractors, but the practice is also widespread in other industries, he said.
“What’s troubling about this growth of what I call a permanent workforce is that they’re often paid far less money than direct hire employees for often doing the exact same job,” he said. “Transparency around this is a critical issue of race and gender equity.”
A study by the TechEquity Collaborative, which also sponsored the California bill, found that contract workers earn 75 cents for every dollar that direct employees make.
In requiring companies to include salary ranges in job postings, California and Washington join Colorado, which last year became the first state with the posting requirement. In September 2023, New York state will also join the list, after that state’s governor signed similar legislation last week.
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Meanwhile, New York City’s requirement for salary ranges in job postings went into effect last month, and so far it appears that some companies are being pushed to disclose the salary ranges that employees prospects can use to make informed decisions about applying for a job. Some companies have published salary ranges so wide, $100,000 or more, that they are largely useless.
The city’s Commission on Human Rights did not immediately return a request for comment on whether companies that include overly broad salary ranges are complying with the law.
Other East Coast cities and counties have also adopted salary range posting requirements this year. They include Ithaca and New York’s Westchester County and Jersey City, NJ
In addition, other cities and states, including Connecticut, Maryland, Nevada, and Rhode Island, have wage transparency laws that require companies to disclose pay ranges at the request of job applicants or employees, although employers they don’t have to disclose pay ranges in job postings.
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