While serving in the military, service members do not have to wonder what their salary will be or could be. For better or worse, the military pay scale is not only the same for everyone based on rank and time in service, but it is also public knowledge and easily accessible for members to see. Even promotion and advancement are based on boards and tests at regular intervals.
The private sector is very different, and new employees have to negotiate a salary. And with much of the information around salary hidden from potential employees, it can be hard to know how much to ask for when negotiating a salary. But things are changing due to new legislation requiring employers to give more information to employees and applicants. But what states are making those changes?
Salary Transparency Laws and Requirements
Starting in April 2022 a new bill in New York City will help to make negotiating easier for employees by requiring all employers to post the salary range for all job openings, promotions, and transfers. This will change employees from going in blind into a negotiation to having a general idea of what the expected salary should be. Colorado was the first state to require employers to provide pay range and benefits for every job listing.
Other states have made changes in recent years to require employers to share wage ranges. In 2018, California passed the Equal Pay Act. It requires employers to disclose the pay range for a job if an applicant asks for it after an initial interview. In Washington, employers must provide the minimum and maximum pay range for a job after they have made an offer and if the candidate asks for it. They also must provide the range for internal transfers or promotions as well, when employees ask for it. In Nevada, employers must provide the salary range to applicants after the initial interview automatically. And in Connecticut, employers must provide a salary range if an applicant asks for it or if the employer extends an offer, whichever comes first.
California was the first state to ban employers from asking applicants about their salary history. Thirteen other states have similar bans asking for pay history. They are Rhode Island, Maryland, Nevada, Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Washington, Connecticut, Hawai’i, and Vermont, along with the Ohio cities of Toledo and Cincinnati.
And more laws are coming. Rhode Island has the Rhode Island Equal Pay Law coming in January of 2023. It will require employers to provide candidates with pay range information during interviews upon request. Employers must disclose the range for a role before they discuss compensation. And this law will also extend to disclosing the salary range when an employee moves into a new position. And workers will also have the ability to ask their employer for the salary range of their current role.
More bills are under consideration in Massachusetts, South Carolina, and New York. It also is a topic that may come up at the federal level, as well. In 1963, the Equal Pay Act banned pay discrimination on the basis of sex. But still decades later, there are still high wage gaps specifically in gender and race. Because of this, the House of Representatives reintroduced and passed the Paycheck Fairness Act last spring, but it failed in the Senate. It may be revived again as the pandemic recovery continues. One way to encourage equal pay is to communicate salary requirements.