A significant amendment to Washington’s Equal Pay and Opportunities Act requiring most employers to include pay ranges, benefits, and other forms of compensation in job listings came into effect on January 1, 2023.
As we discussed here several months ago, these requirements represent a major change from the previous version of the law, which only required employers to provide job applicants with the “minimum wage or salary for the position for which the applicant is applying” after extending a job offer. This change left unanswered questions about important details like who counts as a Washington employer and how specific the pay range and benefits descriptions need to be.
Fortunately, the Washington Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) updated its Administrative Policy on the Equal Pay and Opportunities Act on November 30, 2022, providing much-needed guidance.
So, what are some of the key takeaways?
Many out-of-state employers hiring remote workers will be required to comply.
The law applies to employers “with 15 or more employees, engaging in any business, industry, profession, or activity in Washington.”
Excessively broad or open-ended pay ranges do not comply with the law.
The description of benefits must go into more detail than a list by category.
Per L&L’s guidance, a “general description of all benefits” includes, but is not limited to, heath care benefits, retirement benefits, any benefits permitting paid days off (including more generous paid sick leave accruals, parental leave, and paid time off or vacation benefits), and any other benefits that must be reported for federal tax purposes, such as fringe benefits. The described benefits must be “the employer’s most reasonable and genuinely expected benefits offered for the specific available position.”
Electronic job postings may link to more detailed benefit and other compensation information.
The level of detail required under Washington’s pay transparency law goes even further than similar laws in Colorado and New York City. With that in mind, employers are well advised to consult L&I’s guidance – which includes a variety of examples for each of the topics discussed above – and take the time to review and future job postings for compliance.
 Codified at RCW 49.58.110.
 The Administrative Policy is located at https://www.lni.wa.gov/workers-rights/_docs/ese1.pdf.
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.
To receive updates or be informed when we post a new article.