Pay Transparency Laws by State (2022)

There’s nothing more frustrating than finding what looks like your dream job, only to feel uncertain about what you’re actually going to be paid. Luckily, in recent years more states are taking the initiative to pass pay transparency laws to ensure you have all the information you need.

Currently, there are several states with some form of pay transparency laws, 30 to be exact; however, these laws can cover a wide range of issues.

For example, most pay transparency laws work to prevent pay discrimination and provide employees with the ability to discuss their salaries. However, in recent years more states are starting to enact and amend laws to include salary disclosure as an important part of their pay transparency laws.

Luckily, Zippia investigated all of the most essential facts about pay transparency in the U.S., and according to their extensive research these are all of the states with pay transparency laws:

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STATES THAT REQUIRE EMPLOYERS TO PROVIDE SALARY RANGES

While there are 30 states that provide pay transparency laws, this section will focus on the new trend of requiring employers to provide salary ranges upfront. Currently, only 11 states either have this type of pay transparency law or are working to pass it.

 

These states include:

  1. California

    Law Title: Equal Pay Act
    Year Passed: 2016

    As the first state to pursue pay transparency laws, California definitely leads the pack in this regard.

    The state’s Equal Pay Act was passed in 2016 and provided a multitude of benefits for workers. For example, the act prevents employers from asking about a candidate’s past salaries and requires employers to formally disclose salary ranges.

  2. Colorado

    Law Title: Equal Pay for Equal Work Act
    Year Passed: 2021

    Taking effect in January of 2021, Colorado’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Act is one of the more recent on this list. One of the most important aspects of this law is that it requires employers to list the pay range and benefits of any job opening.

    And this is true regardless of whether you have one employee, or over a thousand, or whether you work remotely or in person. Additionally, employers are also required to notify employees when promotion opportunities are available.

  3. Connecticut

    Law Title: House Bill 6380
    Year Passed: 2021

    Another newcomer to pay transparency laws, Connecticut’s House Bill 6380, took effect in October of 2021. This bill requires employers to provide a salary range if the candidate requests it.

    Additionally, even if someone is already hired, employers will also be required to disclose the pay range for transfers and promotions when asked.

    The only downside to this law is that employers aren’t necessarily required to discuss pay ranges if the candidate doesn’t bring it up, highlighting why it’s so important to ask during an interview.

  4. Maryland

    Law Title: Equal Pay for Equal Work Act
    Year Passed: 2016

    Maryland’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Act was passed in 2016 but was updated in 2020 to focus on pay transparency. Now the law requires employers to provide pay ranges when candidates request them and prohibits employers from asking about previous salary history.

    Again, the only major downside of this act is that potential employees will not benefit if they don’t ask about salary ranges.

  5. Nevada

    Law Title: Senate Bill 293
    Year Passed: 2021

    Taking effect in October of 2021, Nevada’s new Senate Bill 293 requires employers to disclose a salary range after the first interview. In this case, the report is compulsory and automatic, meaning potential employees don’t need to worry about asking.

    Further, employees are also entitled to salary ranges for transfers and promotions. However, the employee is responsible for making either of these requests, as employers aren’t required to disclose automatically.

  6. New Jersey (Jersey City)

    Law Title: Ordinance Amending Chapter 148
    Year Passed: 2022

    Specific to Jersey City, the Ordinance Amending Chapter 148 requires employers to disclose a job’s salary range and benefits. This also applies to promotion or transfer opportunities.

    However, at the moment, this law is only in place for Jersey City and not for the entire state of New Jersey.

  7. New York (NYC & Ithaca)

    Law Title: Senate Bill 9427
    Year Passed: 2022

    New York City and Ithaca have recently implemented pay transparency laws that affect employers. In both cases, employers must disclose salary ranges and benefits before a candidate is hired.

    Similar to the Jersey City law, these laws only apply to either NYC or Ithaca. That means if a candidate doesn’t have a job in either of these cities, the law won’t apply.

  8. Ohio (Toledo & Cinncinati)

    Law Title: Pay Equity Act
    Year Passed: 2020

    Ohio’s Pay Equity Act ensures that workers in both Cinncinati and Toledo are entitled to pay transparency. In both cities, employers with more than 15 employees must provide a salary range upon a candidate’s request.

    However, the catch is that this law only applies if the candidate has been given a conditional offer of employment for the position.

  9. Pennsylvania

    Law Title: Title 9
    Year Passed: 2020

    Pennsylvania has a statewide law that requires state agencies to disclose salary information. In addition, state agencies also may not request salary history.

    Pittsburgh and Philadelphia also have specific salary history ban laws, but do not specify the need to disclose salary ranges.

  10. Rhode Island

    Law Title: Equal Pay Law
    Year Passed: 2021

    Though passed in 2021, Rhode Island’s new Equal Pay Law won’t go into effect until 2023. When that time comes, the law will require employers to provide a salary range if a candidate requests it. And this will also apply to transfers and promotions.

    Though, it’s important to note that employers will also be required to disclose a salary range if compensation is discussed in any way, even if the candidate doesn’t directly request it.

  11. Washington

    Law Title: Equal Pay and Opportunities Act
    Year Passed: 2019

    Another one of the early birds to pass a pay transparency law is Washington’s Equal Pay and Opportunities Act which was recently amended to include salary ranges. According to the law, employers must provide a salary range once they make an offer to a candidate.

    Employers must also provide salary ranges for employees who request them and for transfers and promotions.

PAY TRANSPARENCY TRENDS

Pay transparency laws continue to become more popular in states and major cities. Just five years ago, you could count the number of states with pay transparency laws on one hand, and now there are at least 11 states requiring employers to disclose salary ranges.

If that’s anything to go by, we can expect more states to follow suit. Rhode Island and Washington both already have new laws in the works. These laws have already been passed and will take effect in 2023.

Further, following the trends set by New York City and Ithaca, New York State plans to implement their own similar state-wide pay transparency laws by April of 2023. This may also be followed by Massachusetts, where current bills under consideration would require employers to provide salary ranges for employment opportunities.

RESULTS OF PAY TRANSPARENCY LAWS

You might be wondering what the benefits are of implementing pay transparency laws. Luckily, we’ve gathered all of the facts about how these laws have affected workers, and our research shows that:

  • 80% of U.S. employers who perform pay equity audits find inequity in their organization.

  • Pay transparency laws reduce the gender pay gap between men and women by 20-40%.

  • From 2021-2022, LinkedIn job postings with salary information increased by 50%.

  • Between 2019 and 2022, the number of job listings with salary ranges in the U.S. increased from 8% to 12%.

  • 70% of candidates now expect to hear about salary ranges when first contacted by a recruiter.

PAY TRANSPARENCY LAWS FAQ

  1. Why do companies not share salary ranges?

    Many companies don’t want to share salary ranges for fear of giving information to their rivals. The fear is that if they disclose the information publicly, their rivals will be able to compete against them more effectively.

    However, there’s also the potential employee to consider. Many employers believe candidates are more likely to accept a lower salary when it’s not disclosed upfront. Even more insidiously, many employers don’t want employees to discuss salaries for fear of exposing inequality or encouraging unionization.

  2. How do you politely ask for a salary range?

    Politely asking for a salary range is all about your vocabulary and mannerisms. First, ensure you use words like “compensation” rather than money. It’s also important that you state a range rather than a specific number so employers don’t feel pigeonholed into a yes or no answer.

    Proper communication is important because several states with pay transparency laws still require you to ask about salary ranges in order to be informed. With that in mind, the more politely you ask, the better results you’ll receive.

  3. Can my boss tell others about my salary?

    No, your boss cannot tell others your salary. Even in states where you can discuss your salary with your coworkers, your boss is not legally allowed to disclose information about your salary. In fact, the only instance where your boss would be allowed to discuss employee salary information would be during a private investigation.

CONCLUSION

Ten years ago, pay transparency laws were nearly bare bones in the United States. Today, more and more states are starting to implement them for the sake of their employees.

In fact, at least ten states have now passed laws that would require employers to disclose salary ranges and information about benefits. These new laws give employees more power to seek equitable treatment in the workplace.

And more states will likely follow, as New York State and Massachusetts plan to implement these same laws over the next two years.

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