Big businesses are throwing a tantrum in New York over a new pay transparency law requiring all employers with more than four employees to post minimum and maximum salary ranges for posted positions. Those rules are significant and would apply to the majority of New York’s 8.5 million residents.
The new law, which was passed by the New York City council on December 15 and goes into effect on May 15, makes failing to provide minimum and maximum salary information for positions a discriminatory practice under the city’s Human Rights Law. Supporters of the legislation argue it will empower workers by providing them more information during hiring and job searches and potentially help reduce pay gaps. Those transparency requirements also apply to promotions of transfer opportunities. The law also notably applies to independent contractors in most situations, according to The National Law Review.
Though the exact impact of required pay transparency on employees is still somewhat unclear, some studies show it can have a substantial impact on lowering gender and race-based pay gaps. One 2020 report conducted by compensation software firm Payscale found that gender pay gaps “completely disappear,” with pay transparency.
That sounds pretty good, but of course, not everyone is pleased. In a Wall Street Journal report released on Friday, the chief executive of Partnership for New York City, which represents large businesses JP Morgan and IBM, said they opposed the measure, which they say will take time and effort to implement. Companies found violating the law could also potentially face fines up to $125,000 “It’s just the wrong solution,” Partnership of New York Chief Executive Kathryn Wylde said. “It should never have been allowed to go through.” That organization is apparently working to delay the law.
It’s still unclear exactly how the law will apply to the growing enclave of remote workers who work for a New York-based office. That’s something that will likely need to be hashed out soon if New York wants to avoid what happened in Colorado last year. In that case, Colorado enacted its own similar law but large businesses like Johnson and Johnson quickly found a workaround and made remote work positions only available to people living outside of the state.
If the New York law does go into effect in May as predicted, government officials arent going outlook for blood, at least not yet. “Our immediate goal is not to penalize, but to educate and work together with the city’s business community, while still ensuring that individuals who have experienced discrimination are able to receive damages,” New York City Commission on Human Rights Deputy Commissioner Sapna V. Raj told The Wall Street Journal.
Other states like California, Maryland, and Washington have their own salary transparency laws, but in each of those cases, disclosures are only required if an applicant or employee requests them. New York’s law would mark a major shift, both in its requirement and the scale of its potential impact.