Why Companies May Be Required to Include Salary Information in Job Postings

By Jordan Jeter

2023 brings big changes in pay transparency laws across the country. Advocates for pay transparency say including salary information in job descriptions saves employers time while simultaneously providing vital information to potential candidates. Doing so is also seen as an effective tool to promoting equality and fairness in the workplace. Beyond those benefits, however, several states — including California, Washington and Colorado — now require employers to disclose pay information in all job postings. In recent years, Oregon and Portland have enacted strict measures supporting pay equity, but have yet to enact salary transparency requirements for job postings. However, Oregon employers must tread cautiously, as the laws of neighboring states may cover many of them as well.

California’s new pay transparency law went into effect Jan. 1. In addition to changes to employer reporting requirements, the new law requires employers of 15 or more people to include the pay scale for positions in all job postings. This requirement extends to third-party job postings, such as online recruitment listings. The law also requires employers to provide current employees with the pay scale for their position upon request.

Washington state also has a new law requiring salaries in job postings that took effect Jan. 1. Employers of 15 or more people must 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 made clear that not all 15 of those employees need to be physically present in Washington. So long as the employer has one or more Washington-based employees, the law will apply. Further, the requirement applies whether the employer posts the job directly or indirectly, such as through a recruiter or online listing. For internal transfers or promotions, the requirement for employers to provide a wage scale or salary range upon employee request remains in effect.

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

These new laws follow Colorado’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, which went into effect in 2021. Among other requirements, Colorado employers must include pay information, as well as other compensation and benefits, in job postings. This requirement applies to anyone 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 clear that will not exempt an employer from the law’s application.

Although Oregon has not yet enacted job posting requirements, Portland businesses may still be impacted by the laws of our neighboring states. With the growing presence of Portland businesses nationwide and the trend toward remote work, Portland-based employers have a further reach than ever before. And 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.

Wondering if these pay transparency issues will affect your business? Contact Tonkon Torp to make sure you are in compliance.

This update is prepared for the general information of our clients and friends. It should not be regarded as legal advice. If you have questions about the issues raised here, please contact any of the attorneys in our Labor & Employment Practice Group, or the attorney with whom you normally consult.

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