Pay Ranges and Benefits Information to be Required in Job Postings Starting January 1, 2023

September 6th, 2022 - Aaron A. Brinckerhoff

Pay Ranges and Benefits Information to be Required in Job Postings Starting January 1, 2023

A significant change coming to Washington pay transparency law next year has slipped under the radar for many employers. Starting January 1, 2023, employers with 15 or more employees will be required to post a wage scale or salary range – and a description of all benefits and other compensation offered – with every job posting. To date, only Colorado and New York City require such public disclosure.

This change comes through an amendment to Washington’s Equal Pay and Opportunities Act (EPOA).[1] Enacted in 2018, the EPOA targets disparities in income and opportunity, especially those based on gender.  Among other requirements, it prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for asking about wages, the basis for their wage, or lack of opportunity for advancement. It also prohibits employers from asking job applicants for their wage or salary history.

The current version of the EPOA requires employers to disclose a wage rate or salary range – or a minimum wage rate or salary if a range is unavailable – to employees offered a promotion or transfer if the employee requests it. Job applicants are only entitled to a minimum wage or salary expectation upon request.

After January 1, 2023, job postings for employers with more than 15 employees offering “salary DOE” will no longer comply with the law. The new amendment to the EPOA defines a “posting” broadly as “any solicitation intended to recruit job applicants for a specific available position that includes qualifications for desired applicants.” That includes direct recruitment by the employer or indirect recruitment through a third party, and applies to both electronic and hard copy postings.

Violations of the EPOA can be enforced through complaints to the Washington Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) or through a private lawsuit. Remedies may include actual damages, statutory damages, interest of one percent per month, and payment of costs and attorneys’ fees.

Notably, the terms “wage scale or salary range” and “benefits and all other compensation” are not defined, so it remains unclear how precise or accurate disclosures will need to be to comply. The amendment also does not specify whether employees located in other states and working remotely for Washington-based employers will be counted toward the 15 employee threshold. Guidance from L&I on these questions may be forthcoming.

To prepare for these changes, employers should consider setting a specific pay range for all existing positions and begin reviewing the information included in new job postings for compliance.

[1] RCW 49.58.

Disclaimer: This article and blog are intended to inform the reader of general legal principles applicable to the subject area. They are not intended to provide legal advice regarding specific problems or circumstances. Readers should consult with competent counsel with regard to specific situations.

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