Following the lead of New York City and other states like California and Washington, New York State recently passed a law requiring employers with four or more employees to publish the minimum and maximum pay range for any advertised position. Effective on September 17, 2023, the amendment to the state's labor law advances the goal of pay equity by providing applicants and current employees with greater information about the salary ranges of similarly situated colleagues. As Gov. Kathy Hochul said when signing the bill, "This historic measure will usher in a new era of fairness and transparency for New York's workforce and will be a critical tool in our efforts to end pervasive pay gaps for women and people of color."
What New York's New Law Says
The amendment is largely similar to New York City's Pay Transparency Act (NYC Local Law 32), which became effective on November 1, 2022. It requires all covered employers and employment agencies to include the following information in any advertisement for a job, promotion, or transfer opportunity that can or will be performed, at least in part, in New York State:
- The compensation or a range of compensation for such job, promotion, or transfer opportunity; and
- The job description for such job, promotion, or transfer opportunity, if such description exists.
As described in the law, the "range of compensation" that employers must include in an advertisement or posting means: "the minimum and maximum annual salary or hourly range of compensation for a job, promotion, or transfer opportunity that the employer in good faith believes to be accurate at the time” of posting the advertisement.
Unlike New York City's ordinance, advertisements for jobs paid solely on commission must include a general statement that the position is commission-based.
Rights and Remedies for Job Seekers and Employees
The New York State law also includes protections against retaliation by employers against employees or applicants for exercising any right provided by the law. Prohibited retaliation includes refusing to “interview, hire, promote, or employ” an applicant or current employee.
While employers who violate the law are subject to civil penalties imposed by the state, it does not appear to provide a private right of action for applicants or employees who allege violations. The state's Commissioner of Labor will issue rules and regulations to effectuate the new law later this year that should provide more clarity on this and other aspects of the law.
Employees and Applicants Can Use Greater Salary Transparency to Advocate for Pay Equity
Greater salary transparency is just one aspect of a growing push for pay equity to ensure all workers receive equal pay for equal work. Legislation undoubtedly is a critical part of this effort. But as we discuss in detail here, job applicants and employees can also be powerful advocates for this cause when seeking, interviewing for, and negotiating compensation for a new position or promotion.
At Outten & Golden, we are committed to making pay disparity in gender, race, and other protected classes a thing of the past. If you have questions about New York State's pay transparency law or have concerns about wage discrimination, please contact us today.