Starting November 1, 2022, New York City employers will be required to post salary ranges on advertisements for internal and external job listings. This new law, which amends Section 8-107 of the New York City Administrative Code, provides that it is an “unlawful discriminatory practice” for employers and employment agencies to list a job, promotion, or transfer opportunity in an advertisement without including the maximum and minimum salary range for the position.
After the City Council passed amendments on April 28, which were signed into law by Mayor Eric Adams on May 12, the New York City Commission on Human Rights (the “Commission”) published updated guidance for employers on the amended law.
Who is subject to the law?
The new salary transparency law applies to any “employment agency, employer, or employee or agent thereof” as defined under the Administrative Code. Covered employers include any employer that has four or more employees, regardless of whether those four employees work in the same location, so long as at least one of those employees can or will work in New York City. Owners and individual employers count towards the four employees.
The protections apply to full or part-time employees, interns, freelancers, independent contractors, and domestic workers.
What types of listings or advertisements are covered by the law?
The salary disclosure requirements apply to any advertisement for a job, promotion, or transfer opportunity that can or will be performed, at least in part, in New York City, including work performed in an office, in the field, or remotely. An “advertisement” is defined as a written description of an available job, promotion, or transfer opportunity that is publicized to a pool of potential applicants, and such advertisements are covered regardless of the medium in which they are disseminated. This includes internet listings, newspaper advertisements, postings on internal bulletin boards, and printed flyers distributed at job fairs.
The law does not prohibit employers from hiring without using an advertisement, nor does it require employers to create a covered advertisement in order to hire someone. Because workplace protections apply to a number of categories of workers, advertisements are covered regardless of whether they seek full- or part-time employees, interns, domestic workers, or independent contractors. The law also explicitly does not apply to temporary help firms seeking applicants to join their pool of available workers, because such firms are already required to provide salary information for temporary employment positions under the New York State Wage Theft Prevention Act.
What is required to be listed on a covered advertisement?
Employers must state the minimum and maximum annual salary or hourly wage that they in good faith believe at the time of the posting they are willing to pay for the advertised job, promotion, or transfer opportunity. A “good faith” belief refers to the salary range the employer honestly believes at the time they are posting the advertisement that they are willing to pay the successful applicant.
While advertisements that cover multiple jobs, promotions, or transfer opportunities can include salary ranges that are specific to each opportunity, the range included on an advertisement cannot be open ended. The minimum and maximum amount may be the same, however, if the employer in good faith believes that the salary will be a definitive fixed amount for all applicants.
Importantly, the salary disclosure requirement does not apply to other forms of compensation or benefits. Paid or unpaid time off work like paid sick or vacation days, leaves of absence or sabbaticals, health, life, or other employer-provided insurance, retirement or savings funds like 401(k) plans or employer funded pension plans, severance, overtime, commissions, tips, bonuses, equity, or the value of employer-provided meals or lodging are not required to be disclosed in a job advertisement.
How will the law be enforced?
The law will be enforced by the Commission, which accepts and investigates complaints of discrimination filed by members of the public. The Commission will not assess a civil penalty for a first complaint alleging a violation of the law, so long as the employer shows that it has fixed the violation within 30 days of receiving the notice of the violation. However, the Commission may assess civil penalties of up to $250,000 for an uncured first violation and for any subsequent violations of the law.
The law also provides a private right of action for existing employees (but not job applicants) to bring a lawsuit against their current employer for an alleged violation of the law. The Commission may require employers and employment agencies who are found to have violated the law to pay monetary damages to affected employees, as well as taking other affirmative steps such as amending advertisements and postings, creating or updating policies, conducting training, and providing notices of rights to employees or applicants.
What other considerations should employers keep in mind?
Before the law takes effect on November 1, employers should review how salary ranges for advertised positions will be determined and consider assessing their existing employees’ salaries to identify any discrepancies between the salaries of current employees and the salary ranges that employers intend to disclose. Additionally, since the disclosure requirement applies to all jobs that can or will be performed in New York City—regardless of whether the employee works in an office, in the field, or at home—employers advertising a position that may garner applications from individuals who live or work in New York City should ensure that their job advertisements contain minimum and maximum salary ranges.