NY business leaders to push governor to tweak wage transparency bill


State business leaders plan to urge Gov. Kathy Hochul to tweak a Legislature-passed bill requiring employers to disclose the salary and salary range of any posted job listing before signing it into law.

The wage transparency bill, passed by both houses at the end of legislative session, would require employers with four or more employees to publicize wage information under the current proposal. Compensation data of new hires would also be mandated to be provided to existing employees.

“We are concerned some of the smaller businesses without Human Resources offices would have a problem complying with that,” said Paul Zuber, the Business Council of New York State’s executive vice president. “So we would like to see the type of employer that’s included in these provisions is expanded to have a larger business or company that would be more ready to comply with the provisions of the bill..”

The business council will urge the governor to increase the four-employee minimum to an undetermined higher number to ease the burden on small businesses that often lack manpower or the legal expertise.​

Hochul’s staff would not say if she intends to sign or alter the proposed law.

“Gov. Hochul is reviewing the legislation,” Hochul spokesman Avi Small said in a statement Thursday.

Hochul announced a new state Labor Department’s online dashboard with employment and wage data for 800 jobs to address wage transparency issues earlier this year.

The state’s wage transparency bill is aimed to help prospective employees best negotiate their salaries. 

Knowing compensation parameters may help people know their value and close pay gaps. Studies show women and people of color are routinely hired at lower rates of pay than male white counterparts.

“Having that transparency up front helps employees and other applicants be better able to negotiate their salary so they’re not at a disadvantage so they don’t underestimate their values going in the door,” said attorney Melissa Camire, partner at national Fisher Phillips New York office​.

The Labor Department must hold a public awareness campaign and outreach to employers to inform them of the new salary posting requirements if the measure becomes law later this year.

​”You’ll be able to compare positions as well, so not only are you seeing what this employer is paying, you’re seeing what the other employers are paying,” Camire said​. “That can help people make more considered decisions when they’re applying for jobs and, ultimately, accepting jobs.”

The law could pose an issue for remote job listings from companies based in other states that are unaware of the wage transparency obligations.

Employees can file a complaint with the state Labor Department if an employer is expected to not be in compliance with the legislation if it becomes law. 

“Employers cannot take adverse action against someone who exercises their rights under the law,” Mire explained. “If someone says ‘You need to provide me with the salary range for this position,’ an employer can’t decide they’re not going to interview that person.”​

Business leaders are encouraging employers to complete a pay equity audit to determine any racial or gender-based discrepancies in their pay practices before they are legally mandated to share the information.

Many Republican lawmakers voted against the measure when it came to the floor for a vote at the end of session. Several members of the minority who took issue with the bill could not be reached or declined to be interviewed.​​

The law will take effect 270 days after being signed.

Wage transparency laws exist in Colorado and will go into effect in New York City in November. Similar legislation is proposed in California and Washington, D.C.


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