Jan 31, 2023 — Allie Barshinger

What US Employers Need to Know About Pay Transparency Laws

In recent years, pay transparency has become a hot-button issue in the United States. Pay transparency laws are designed to ensure that employees have access to information about pay structure and rates within their organizations to make informed decisions about their pay and career growth opportunities.

This article will discuss current pay transparency laws in the US, how these affect employers and employees, and potential future legislation.

Additionally, we’ll provide actionable advice for employers on handling pay transparency regulations in their workplace.

Overview of Pay Transparency Laws in the United States

Pay transparency laws in the US

Pay transparency laws are designed to ensure that employees receive fair pay for their work. These laws require employers to be transparent about how they pay different types of workers, including those with different job titles, gender, race/ethnicity, and other characteristics.

In the United States, pay transparency laws vary from state to state but generally include requirements such as posting salary information or providing pay-related documents upon request. Additionally, some states have enacted legislation prohibiting employers from asking prospective employees about their current or past wages before offering them a job. This type of law also helps protect against wage discrimination based on gender or other protected characteristics.

These laws help create a level playing field where all workers can compete equally for jobs and earn fair compensation for their efforts by promoting pay transparency in the workplace

Federal-level Pay Transparency Laws

Federal pay transparency regulations are currently limited to the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA), which prohibits pay discrimination based on sex. While this law provides a baseline level of protection against pay discrimination, it does not give employees the right to know what other employees in their organization make.

Pay Transparency Laws For State and Local Levels

state and local legislation

Pay transparency laws at the state and local levels have become increasingly popular as they provide current and prospective employees with more information about pay structure, pay rates, pay gaps, and other aspects of pay. These laws can help increase employee satisfaction by creating an environment where workers feel their efforts are valued and respected.

At the local level, pay transparency ordinances are becoming increasingly common. For example, the city of San Francisco has passed a pay transparency ordinance requiring employers to provide pay data to the city’s Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE). The ordinance also requires employers to post pay scales for all job titles at each worksite.

State-level Pay Transparency Laws

State capital building

State laws generally require employers to provide pay information to their employees or make it available on request. Pay transparency can help ensure that pay practices are equitable and pay decisions remain unbiased. Here are the pay transparency laws in each state:


In California, employers are required by CA Senate Bill No. 1162 to post pay scale information on official job postings. This pay scale must include salary range minimums and maximums so potential employees can better understand what they may be offered prior to applying or negotiating for the position.

Additionally, employers in California must provide pay equality data between male and female employees working in similar positions. For example, an employer would be required to provide evidence that the minimum wage of a male worker is equal to the minimum wage of a female worker doing the same job.


Colorado’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Act requires employers to publish pay scale information for individual jobs and job titles when advertised externally. In addition, to pay ranges for individual external job postings, employers must include pay ranges for all job titles within the company on their website. Similar to California’s pay transparency laws, Colorado employers must provide pay equality data between male and female workers in similar positions.


Connecticut has two major legislation addressing pay transparency: The Fair Pay Act and The Connecticut Pay Equity Act. The Fair Pay Act requires employers to post internal pay scales on their websites and make them available upon request from any employee or applicant who wishes to view them. Additionally, this act prohibits prospective employees from being asked about past salaries before they are offered employment or during negotiations over wages.

The Connecticut Pay Equity Act requires employers with more than 75 employees to report any gender-based pay differences among employees in comparable positions each year by April 1st of that calendar year.


Hawaii’s Equal Pay Law protects against gender-based discrimination, requiring that men and women receive equal pay for work requiring substantially equal skill levels or effort when performed under similar working conditions outside of seniority or merit systems.

Employers must also prove that any differences in salary between genders were due solely to job performance rather than gender alone if requested by an employee or applicant through an attorney general’s investigation or civil action.


The Illinois Equal Pay Act (EPA) is an important pay transparency law designed to ensure that employers pay employees fairly and equitably based on their merits rather than gender or race. Under this law, employers must disclose pay information related to job titles and salaries of both male and female employees. This includes details such as the hourly rate, hourly pay rate range, bonuses, overtime pay, and any other compensation associated with the job.

The EPA also requires employers to provide pay records comparing male and female workers in similar positions. This ensures no pay discrimination between employees of different genders in a particular position. Employers must also ensure that they document any pay discrepancies between male and female employees in a given job title.

In addition to requiring employers to document pay differences between men and women, the EPA also requires them to demonstrate how pay will be adjusted if a new employee enters into the same position as an existing employee. This ensures that pay increases are awarded on merit-based criteria rather than based on gender or race alone. The EPA also outlines certain criteria which must be considered when making pay decisions, including years of experience or education within the field.

Finally, the EPA also stipulates that all pay information must be reported accurately by employers every year in order for it to remain compliant with state laws. This includes providing detailed compensation reports, which include each individual’s annual salary, bonuses paid out over the course of the year, and total hours worked during the same period. Reports should be sent out on a regular basis so that employees can remain informed about their current wages relative to coworkers in similar positions.


Maine has a pay transparency law that requires employers to provide certain pay information to employees. Under Maine’s Equal Rights Law, employers must provide pay information to employees upon request, including pay rate, pay structure, pay raises, bonuses or other forms of compensation received by employees.

Furthermore, employers must also make pay information available to job applicants during the hiring process. This pay transparency law is designed to ensure that employees are aware of their pay rates and pay structures, as well as other forms of compensation.


In Massachusetts, pay transparency laws require employers to provide employees with certain pay information. In particular, the Equal Pay Law requires employers to disclose pay information related to pay disparities based on gender, race or ethnicity. This includes but is not limited to wages and salaries, bonuses, pay raises, pay periods, pay scales, and pay ranges for different positions.

This information must be made available to all employees upon request, regardless of their gender, race, or ethnicity. Additionally, employers must disclose pay information to job applicants upon request.

New York

According to NY Senate Bill S9427A, employers are required to disclose a salary or range of compensation when posting job opportunities and promotions. They must also provide job descriptions, if available. Moreover, employers are not allowed to retaliate against applicants or employees for exercising their rights under the new law. Records must be kept to ensure compliance with the requirements.


The Washington State Disclosure of Wage or Salary Range by Employer Law requires employers with fifteen or more employees to disclose in each job posting the wage scale or salary range and a general description of all benefits and other compensation which will be offered to applicants.

Additionally, employers must provide the wage scale or salary range for an employee who is offered an internal transfer or promotion upon request. This law provides job applicants, and employees with legal remedies should the employer fail to comply, including recovery of any wages and interest from the date wages were owed.

Local-level Pay Transparency Laws

local government laws

As pay transparency is becoming a requirement at the state level, some localities are updating their pay equality law to match this trend. Here are some of the cities and localities with pay transparency laws in place:

Cincinnati, OH

Employers located within the City of Cincinnati must adhere to new Chapter 804, “Prohibited Salary History Inquiry and Use,” of the Cincinnati Municipal Code. All employers with 15 or more employees must provide the salary range for a position if an offer has been extended and when requested by an applicant. This law ensures job applicants are offered positions and compensated based on their experience instead of their prior salary histories in order to reduce gender-based wage gaps.

Ithica, NY

This ordinance amendment to Chapter 215 of the City of Ithaca Municipal Code aims to foster wage transparency in the employer-employee relationship in the city. It states that employers must include minimum and maximum hourly or salary compensation for a position in job listings and advertisements. This does not apply to employers with fewer than four employees whose standard work locations are in the city, or a job advertisement for temporary employment at a temporary help firm as defined by applicable New York State law.

Jersey City, NJ

This ordinance amends Chapter 148 of the Jersey City Municipal Code to include a “Pay Transparency” regulation for employers within the city. This regulation requires employers with their principal place of business in Jersey City and which use any print or digital media circulating within the City to provide notice of employment opportunities, to post a minimum and maximum salary range along with any benefits offered in their advertisement. This does not apply to employers who employ four or fewer employees.

Additionally, it is unlawful for New Jersey employers to screen job applicants based on their salary history or require that an applicant’s salary history meet any minimum or maximum criteria.

New York City, NY

The NYC Human Rights Law requires employers to include a good faith pay range in all job advertisements from employers with four or more employees. This is intended to be a step towards pay equity for all New Yorkers working within the city. The law applies to any advertisement for a job, promotion, or transfer opportunity that would be performed in New York City, including postings on internal bulletin boards, internet ads, printed materials, etc.

Toledo, OH

The Toledo Pay Equity Act prohibits employers with fifteen or more employees from inquiring about an applicant’s compensation history during the application process. Employers can only verify voluntarily disclosed compensation information and discuss salary expectations with applicants. If a conditional offer of employment is made, employers are also required to provide the pay scale to the applicant upon reasonable request.

Westchester County, NY

The Westchester County Human Rights Law Amendment requires employers with four or more employees to include the minimum and maximum salary for any job, promotion, or transfer opportunity in a job posting for positions that are required to be performed, in whole or in part, in Westchester County.

This requirement does not apply to businesses where two-thirds of the employees are related to the employer, temporary employment at a temporary help firm, general “help wanted” signs not referencing particular positions, or stating other benefits offered besides base salary such as health insurance and stock options.

Fair Workplaces for Everyone

Blocks spelling out equality, representing equal pay

Pay transparency laws are an important tool in the fight against pay discrimination and pay disparities. These laws require employers to provide certain information related to job titles, salaries, bonuses, overtime pay, and other compensation associated with a given position. They also stipulate that pay differences between male and female employees must be documented, as well as criteria that should be considered when making pay decisions.

Finally, employers mandate that all pay data is reported accurately each year so that individuals can stay informed about their wages relative to coworkers in similar positions. By following these guidelines set forth under state-level legislation, such as Illinois’ Equal Pay Act or Maine’s Equal Rights Law, businesses can help create fairer workplaces for everyone regardless of gender, identity, or race.

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