If you have employees in NYC, you may need to boost your transparency

The momentum behind pay transparency continues in 2022, as the Big Apple showed with a new bill.
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Francis Scialabba

· 3 min read

New York City is known for many things. Super tall tax shelters for the super rich, photogenic wildlife, and tourists who still think it’s funny to reenact Dustin Hoffman’s “I’m walking here!” bit in city crosswalks. (C’mon, visiting dads, it’s 2022.) They are all part of the rich cultural tapestry of the five boroughs, but the city may soon be known for another thing: pay transparency.

On December 15, last year, the City Council passed a bill that, if signed into law by Mayor Eric Adams, will require employers to list salary ranges in job listings. The idea, according to the bill’s sponsor, former City Council member Helen Rosenthal, is to eliminate inequities that are baked into the salary-negotiation process. “Every New Yorker should have the right to determine whether they will be able to support themselves and their family when they apply for a job,” Rosenthal told NY1.

Here’s how it would work if it becomes law.

The nuts and bolts. According to the bill’s language, it would be an “unlawful discriminatory practice to not include in job listings the minimum and maximum salary offered for any position located within New York City.” The law would apply to any employer with four or more employees, with the exception of domestic workers, whose pay must be included in job listings regardless of the company size, NY1 reports.

Job listings would have to include the salary range, from lowest to highest, “that the employer in good faith believes it would pay for the advertised job.” The law would also cover lateral job transfers within organizations and promotions. Listings that fail to show salary ranges could be reported to the city’s Commission on Human Rights

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If it carries Adams’s signature, the bill would go into effect in April. City Hall spokesperson Kate Smart declined to say if the mayor intended to sign the bill.

Transparency trending. Pay transparency is having a moment, as laws passed in Colorado, California, Maryland, Nevada, Washington State, and beyond have recently taken effect, Money reports. Advocates of the concept argue that it can combat inequities that have historically affected women and people of color: As HR Brew previously reported, women earned 82 cents for every dollar earned by men in 2020. A report from the Center of American Progress last year found that “data consistently show that women of color experience persistent economic inequality in part because they have the largest gaps in wages when compared with their male counterparts.”

Teresa Ghilarducci, a labor economist at The New School, noted in an NPR interview how transparency may help: “If pay was transparent, the employer would have to kind of fess up that they’re probably paying their male workers more.”

Republican City Council member Joe Borelli, however, says the bill could be bad for business, telling NY1, “This smacks as something someone who never has run a business would support, and is an unnecessary interference in a contract negotiation.” —SB

Correction: This story was updated on Monday, January 10, to note that actor Dustin Hoffman performed the iconic "I'm walkin' here" scene in Midnight Cowboy. An earlier version misidentified the actor as Al Pacino.

Do you work in HR or have information about your HR department we should know? Contact Sam Blum via the encrypted messaging app Telegram (@SamBlum_Brew) or simply email [email protected].

HR is challenging. HR news doesn’t have to be.

HR Brew keeps you effective in the fast-changing business environment.