It used to be that talking about wages and salary was considered in poor taste by many people. Employees’ income was often shrouded in secrecy. They sometimes weren’t even allowed to discuss and compare it among themselves at work.
Not only is that no longer the case, but states and some individual cities have passed “pay transparency” laws that require employers to list wage or salary ranges for positions so that current and prospective employees can know what they should be earning or can expect to be offered if they apply for a job. California has had this law in place for over a year now.
What does the law require of employers?
The law requires California employers with at least 15 employees to provide the pay range for any job listing. This applies to both internal and external listings and ads. They’re also required to provide this pay range information to any current employee who asks for it.
These requirements help ensure that an employer isn’t paying someone below or above the designated wage or salary for their job – even unintentionally. Lawmakers and others advocating for pay transparency want to help ensure that people doing the same job for the same company are paid comparable amounts
They also hope that this will make at least a dent in the gender and race disparities in income. One fair pay advocate said, “Women, and especially women of color, are literally being robbed of wages every year. That is money that could go to rent, food, diapers, education, retirement savings.” To that end, the law also requires added reporting by larger employers of pay information by gender race and ethnicity to the California Civil Rights Agency.
Sometimes, people find it difficult to advocate for themselves – especially when it comes to seeking more money for what they do. California’s pay transparency law can give you data that can help – especially if you find that your earnings aren’t within the pay range for your job. If your employer still isn’t paying you what you should be earning for your work or if you suffer retaliation for asserting your right to fair pay, it may help to have legal guidance.