Under the state’s new pay transparency law, employers with four or more employees on Long Island and throughout the state are required to post salary ranges or exact hourly pay in all job advertisements.
The measure, which took effect Sept. 17, is aimed at tackling issues of pay inequity, particularly as it affects women and people of color.
State Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said the law, while designed to give workers more information in the job search process, is a net benefit to both employers and employees.
“If you’re hiring, you don’t want to go through 100 resumes and find that 70 are never going to take the job,” Reardon said Thursday in an interview. The law will keep prospective employees from applying for jobs that won’t meet their financial needs.
“This is a great way to really narrow that lens and to make sure you’re talking to the people who are really interested,” she said.
Here are answers to questions about the law.
What do employers have to do to comply with the law?
Employers in the state must list “good-faith” pay ranges, or specific hourly wages, for any advertised job, promotion or transfer opportunities, according to state guidance.
That applies to internal postings or emails sent to existing workers as well as external advertisements.
Employers must also include a job description with job listings when available. Exceptions are made when a job title clearly conveys the expectations of the role.
For example, a title like dishwasher would not require a job description.
What types of job advertisements are covered?
Newspaper ads, printed flyers, social media posts, website postings and emails sent to a pool of more than one potential applicant are all covered by the law.
Would a "Help Wanted" sign in a shop window be covered?
Under the law, businesses can post a generic “Help Wanted” sign out front but would still be obligated to provide salary information if a potential applicant goes inside to inquire about openings.
“They could say 'Help Wanted,' because they’re not saying who,” Reardon said. “But if they said, ‘Help Wanted: Cook,’ then they need to have salary information” displayed.
“If for some reason you’re limited by space, there has to be some type of contact information” for applicants to use to find salary information, she said.
Are job openings outside the state covered?
Job opportunities performed outside the state, such as field office work or work done by remote workers, are still subject to the law if the employee would report to a “supervisor, office, or worksite” in New York State.
Are any employers exempt from the law?
Temp agencies that advertise work opportunities do not have to list salary ranges, as the work to be done is often not known at the time of the advertisement. An employer seeking to hire workers through an agency must provide salary ranges.
Temp agencies looking to hire for their own internal staff must comply with the law like other employers, according to the Department of Labor.
How should pay information be formatted?
Pay ranges are required to include the minimum and maximum annual salary or hourly rate an employer is willing to pay at the time of a posting, according to state guidance.
Employers are not allowed to advertise open-ended hourly rates, such as “$20+ an hour.”
What is considered a "good-faith" pay range under the law?
While the state has issued examples of good faith ranges, there is no hard and fast rule or percentage on what is acceptable.
According to state guidelines, a good faith pay range is defined as one that an employer “legitimately believes they are willing to pay at the time of an advertisement’s posting.”
The state encourages employers to consider factors like the job market, current employee wage rates, the employer’s budget and the experience or education level they would accept for the position.
Reardon said while ranges like $50,000 to $70,000 are reasonable, she cautioned against the use of wide ranges such as $25,000 to $75,000, as they don’t provide applicants with actionable information.
“It doesn’t help the worker” if a range is too large, she said.
How does the state plan to enforce the law?
Job seekers who believe an employer is not following the law can file a complaint with the state Department of Labor. Employers found to be in violation can be subject to civil fines of up to $1,000 for the first violation, up to $2,000 for a second, and up to $3,000 for a third and subsequent violations.
While job postings are often publicly available on sites like Indeed or Monster.com, Reardon said the state will rely largely on applicant complaints as opposed to proactive investigations, except for the most egregious violations.
Department of Labor staff are “going to address any complaints that we get,” Reardon said. “Our focus right now is on educating businesses. We would rather educate businesses than go out and fine them.”
How can job seekers file a complaint?
Applicants or current employees, as well as organizations representing workers such as a union, can file a complaint with the state Department of Labor's Division of Labor Standards by calling 1-888-525-2267 or emailing LSAsk@labor.ny.gov. Long Islanders can also visit the Department of Labor's district office at 400 Oak St., Suite 101, in Garden City.
For more information on the law, visit dol.ny.gov/pay-transparency.