Beginning on January 1, 2023, employers with 15 or more employees will be required to provide in all job postings wage scale or salary range, a general description of all benefits, and any other compensation the employee will receive. The Washington Department of Labor and Industries published an Administrative Policy that provides some guidance on how employers can expect to comply with the new disclosure requirements. Below are answers to common questions about what employers should be prepared to do.
What is a "job posting"?
A job posting is any solicitation meant to recruit applicants whether done directly by an employer or by a third party. It includes any electronic or printed hard copy solicitations that include a list of job qualifications.
What wage and salary information must be included in job postings?
Each job posting must include the expected wage scale or salary range for the position. It should span from the lowest amount to the highest amount paid by the employer for that position. No open-ended phrases may be used (e.g., "$50,000 per year and up").
If the wage scale or salary range changes after the job posting is published, the employer must revise the posting as soon as possible to include the corrected pay information.
What benefit information must be included in job postings?
Employers must include a "general description of all benefits" with their job postings. This includes healthcare benefits, retirement benefits, and any paid time off benefits (e.g., PTO, vacation, paid holidays, more generous paid sick leave than what is required by law, etc.). The benefit disclosure also must include any benefits that must be reported for tax purposes, such as fringe benefits. Employers do not need to include the total monetary value of any offered benefits but must include the following:
- If the employer offers different types of insurance, it should list them out (e.g., medical, vision, dental, etc.).
- If the employer offers retirement benefits, it should list the retirement options (e.g., 401k, deferred compensation, etc.).
- If the employer offers PTO or vacation, it should specify the amount of PTO/vacation the employee will receive once hired.
- If the employer offers paid holidays, it should state the number of paid holidays the employee will receive once hired. Employers are not required to specify which holidays are paid
- If the employer offers more generous paid sick leave than what is required under state law, the employer should list the number of hours or days of paid sick leave the employee will receive that is greater than what is required under the law.
What "other compensation" must be included in job postings?
"Other compensation" includes any forms of compensation offered in addition to the salary or wages. It includes bonuses, stock options, travel allowances, housing allowances, etc. The employer does not need to list the monetary value of the "other compensation," just a general description.
What if the position is commission-based?
If the employer is posting for a position that is compensated through commissions, the employer must include the commission rate in the job posting (e.g., 5-7% of sales).
Can employers use links to benefit summaries and "other compensation" information in electronic postings?
Employers who utilize electronic job postings may use links that route the applicant to another page where more detailed benefit plan descriptions can be found. Employers who utilize links to plan descriptions should regularly monitor those links to ensure they are not broken and that they route people to the appropriate information.
How do employers post for positions that can be filled with different job titles?
If the employer is posting for a position that can be filled with different job titles, the employer should specify in the posting the salary range or wage scale for each job title that could ultimately fill the position. For example:
- Associate Step 1: $50,000 - $60,000 per year
- Associate Step 2: $60,000 - $70,000 per year
- Associate Step 3: $70,000 - $80,000 per year
Do employers need to provide the wage and salary information to employees who transfer internally?
If an employee who is transferring positions or promoted asks for wage scale or salary information for their new position, the employer must provide that information to them.
Does the pay transparency law apply to employers with fewer than 15 employees in Washington?
If the employer has 15 or more employees, and at least one employee is based in Washington, the employer must comply with the pay transparency law. The law also applies if the employer has at least 15 employees and posts for a position that could be filled with a Washington employee.
What if the job posting is for remote work that could be filled by a Washington-based employee?
The new pay transparency law applies if the employer is soliciting applicants for a position that could be filled by a Washington-based employee. This includes job postings for positions that are "fully remote." Employers may not avoid providing wage and salary information in a job posting by stating that the employer will not consider Washington applicants.
Does the new law apply to job postings for positions that must be filled outside of Washington?
If the job posting is for a position that is tied to a worksite physically located outside of Washington, employers do not need to include the wage and salary information in the job posting even if a Washington-based employee could potentially apply for the position.
What if the employer hires the applicant into a position that is different than the position the employee applied for?
If the employer decides to offer the applicant a different position than the applied-for position, the employer must provide the applicant with the job posting (that includes the wage and salary information) for the position offered.
The Employment Standards program is holding "Job Posting Transparency" webinars on the following dates:
- Dec. 15 at 2 p.m.
- Jan. 12 at 9 a.m.
- Feb. 9 at 2 p.m.
Employers can sign up for a session on the Workshops and Training Center web page.
For more information on Washington's pay transparency law, please contact a Davis Wright Tremaine employment attorney.