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What Are “Pay Transparency” Laws And Where Are They Implemented?

New York City will enact a new “pay transparency” law on May 15, 2022 after its passage last year. What this means is relatively simple — and seemingly common sense. Employers who post jobs online or in written media must include a salary wage or wage. Prior to the law, it became increasingly common to post jobs without including information about potential pay or benefits. The law aims to put a stop to the guess-work for those looking to be hired.

The law fails to clearly define terms like “advertise” or “salary,” which might mean businesses can easily find loopholes or ignore the law altogether without sustaining serious penalties.

For now, employers with more than four employers are subject to the new law. Independent contractors are included in the mix. Looking to obtain a temporary job? Temp positions are not covered by the pay transparency law. 

NYC follows Colorado, Connecticut, Nevada, Rhode Island, California, Maryland, and Washington, where similar laws are already on the books. Massachusetts and South Carolina seem poised to implement similar legislation in the near-future.

Other pay transparency laws revolve around protecting an employee’s right to discuss pay or benefits with other employees, which is an act many employers believe they can bar in the workplace. Although states have their own laws regarding the discussion of pay, it is a federal right as well — in general. 

The only time when this right doesn’t exist is when you are at work and have conversations with other employees when you’re not normally allowed to have conversations. An employer is never prevented from requesting you don’t talk about pay, but you have the right to ignore that request and should contact an employment attorney if you believe your rights have been violated.

The reason this right is provided to workers is because it’s important when bartering for higher pay, especially if the workers don’t have a union.