Salary Information in Job Postings

By: Michelle D. Patrick

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Employers looking to hire rarely divulge compensation information to potential applicants. They almost never list compensation, or even a salary range, in job postings. As a result, the wage gap that exists in the United States continues. Rather than transparency around pay and compensation being based on equal pay for equal work, compensation continues to be based on a number of other factors including gender and race.

In an attempt to improve transparency and eliminate pay inequalities in the workplace, a number of states have passed legislation requiring the disclosure of salary or wages to candidates for employment. The law in this area is rapidly changing, with Connecticut being the most recent state to implement legislation effective October 1, 2021. As of the writing of this article, the strictest and most comprehensive legislation is in Colorado, which actively requires compensation disclosure. 

In January of 2019, Colorado passed the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act (EPEWA) which, among other things, required that effective January 2021, covered Colorado employers post salary and all benefit information (including bonuses, commissions, and any other forms of compensation offered) for both promotions and job openings directly in the job posting. Covered employers refers to any employer, located in or outside of, Colorado that has Colorado employees.  In July, 2021, Colorado’s Department of Labor and Employment issued guidance clarifying that the Act applies to jobs that are physically performed in Colorado as well as remote jobs that can be performed in Colorado.

Other states have taken different approaches in trying to ensure equal pay for equal work. Some states require that salary, or at least a salary range, be provided if requested. Those states include:

  • California. Following an interview and upon their reasonable request, candidates for employment must be provided with “salary” or “hourly pay range.”
  • Washington. Upon request, and following an initial offer of employment, employers with 15 or more employees must provide job applicants and current employees with the “wage scale” or “salary range.”
  • Maryland. Upon request, employers must provide applicants with the “wage range” for the position.
  • Connecticut.  Requires disclosure of a “wage range.” However, Connecticut law takes it one step further than the above states, requiring disclosure at the earliest of either (1) the applicant’s request, or (2) before, or at the time, an offer of employment is made. In addition, Connecticut employers are also required to provide current employees with wage range information if they are switching jobs, or if they request the wage range for their position.  

Yet other states have taken an even approach including:

  • Nevada. Nevada employers are required to provide a “wage or salary range” or “rate” to applicants who have already been interviewed as well as to current employees seeking a transfer or promotion if that employee has already applied or has been interviewed and requests the range or rate. 
  • Ohio. While Ohio itself does not have legislation, the cities of Cincinnati and Toledo do. Cincinnati employers must disclose the “pay scale” for a position after the applicant has received a conditional offer of employment. Toledo requires that employers disclose the “pay scale,” if requested by an applicant, after a conditional offer of employment has been made. 
  • Pennsylvania. Job postings by state agencies must contain the “pay scale” and “pay range.”

Currently, a number of states are considering similar legislation. It is important that both employers and employees be aware of the laws in the state in which a position is posted and search for the most up-to-date guidance to avoid running afoul of the law. Employers who have employees in multiple states must be particularly careful to know the law in all jurisdictions in which they have employees. 

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