Washington Becomes Third Jurisdiction to Require Salary Disclosure in Job Postings – Employee Benefits and Compensation


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In an effort to close what is seen as a persistent pay gap, Washington amended its Equal Pay and Opportunity Act (EPOA) for the second time to require employers to include wage and salary information. benefits in their job postings. This replaces the previous requirement that employers had to provide this information to applicants “upon request” after receiving a job offer. Washington is one of the first jurisdictions to require this information to be provided in job postings, after Colorado and New York City. Other jurisdictions have adopted salary disclosure requirements and are likely to follow suit with respect to job postings.

Which employers must comply with wage disclosure requirements?

Wage disclosure requirements apply to employers with 15 or more employees. The law does not specify whether it counts employees in Washington solely for this purpose.

What are the salary disclosure requirements for applicants?

Employers must disclose in each posting for each job posting:

  1. The pay scale or pay scale, and

  2. A general description of all benefits and other compensation to be offered.

An “advertisement” means any solicitation intended to recruit candidates for a specific available position that includes the qualifications of the desired candidates. This includes direct recruitment by the employer or indirect recruitment through a third party. This includes all electronic or paper publications.

What are the salary disclosure requirements for current employees?

For employees who are offered an internal transfer to a new position or promotion, the employer must provide the salary range or scale for the new position upon request.

How have the requirements changed?

Washington originally amended the EPOA in 2019 to mandate wage disclosure, but those amendments required employers to provide certain information only upon request. For applicants, employers had to provide the salary or minimum wage for the position upon request after an initial job offer, instead of the new requirement to post salary and benefits information for all potential applicants . For employees transferred or promoted, employers had to provide the pay scale or pay scale upon request. or salary or minimum wage (if there was no salary scale or range); now, employers do not have the option of providing only the wage or the minimum wage.

What are the remedies for breach?

Individuals can either file a complaint with the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) or take legal action if they believe a violation of the law has occurred. Remedies may include actual damages, double damages (or $5,000, whichever is greater), interest of one percent per month, and payment of attorneys’ fees and costs. L&I can order the payment of civil penalties in response to employee complaints, ranging from $500 for a first violation to $1,000 or 10% damages (whichever is greater) for a repeat violation. The recovery of wages and interest will be calculated four years after the last violation.

When do these changes take effect?

Employers must comply with the new requirements as of January 1, 2023.

Next steps for employers

There are a number of questions that remain unanswered in the law. For example, it’s unclear whether the law covers job postings for remote positions that can be done in any state. L&I, the state agency responsible for administering and enforcing the EPOA, is developing administrative guidance on the new wage disclosure requirements. L&I has asked employers to send their questions by May 13 to its equal pay specialist. Employers can also consult their lawyer for an anonymous submission to L&I.

Employers should review their pay structures and ensure they have salary ranges or salary ranges in place for all positions, as they will need to include them in postings from next year. Employers may consider conducting pay equity audits under solicitor-client privilege to assess the salary of current employees. Employers should also review or develop compensation policies and provide training to managers to guide compensation decision-making. Employers will also want to consider implementing an assessment process when posting a position to ensure that current employees’ salaries are within the advertised range to minimize potential employee relations issues. employees.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.

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