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Will NY’s Pay Transparency Law end wage discrimination?

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New York State has embarked on a significant legislative journey to address wage disparities with its new Pay Transparency Law. The law requires employers to disclose salary ranges in job postings, a move experts say could be a game-changer in the fight against wage discrimination.

Jared Cook, an employment attorney with Tully Rinckey, emphasized the law’s potential impact. “The idea is that it’s going to cause people to know what different employers are paying for a job,” Cook said in a recent conversation on Inside the FLX. The law aims to combat pay disparity across gender and racial lines by ensuring transparency in salary offerings.

Under the new legislation, employers advertising job openings must provide a salary range. “You have to make a good faith effort, you have to put a range in there,” Cook explained, outlining the law’s requirement for employers to be upfront about pay scales.

This law comes at a time when systemic pay discrepancies have become a hot-button issue. Cook highlighted the unconscious bias that often leads to people of color and women being paid less for the same work as their white male counterparts. “Even despite their best efforts and their desire to not be discriminatory, there was unconscious bias,” he noted, referencing employers who have uncovered such disparities in internal audits.

While the law primarily targets larger businesses, it also applies to smaller enterprises, covering employers with four or more employees. This broad application ensures that a vast majority of the state’s workforce falls under its protective umbrella.

However, Cook pointed out some ambiguities in the law, especially regarding enforcement. He mentioned that the Department of Labor is still developing specific regulations, but the law itself does not define what it means to be “aggrieved” by a violation. This leaves room for interpretation and potential legal challenges in the future.

As businesses adapt to this new regulation, there are concerns about compliance, especially among smaller employers. “A lot of folks, particularly smaller businesses, maybe haven’t even heard of it,” Cook said, suggesting a potential learning curve in the initial stages of implementation.

Looking forward, Cook expressed curiosity about how the law will be enforced and its long-term impact. “How does it get enforced? Does the Department of Labor… put a high priority on it?” he questioned, indicating the future challenges in ensuring widespread compliance.

New York’s Pay Transparency Law marks a bold step toward greater equality in the workplace. As it unfolds, its effectiveness in addressing wage disparity and its impact on the state’s job market will be closely monitored.

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