Washington State to Mandate Salaries in Job Postings

Author: Emily Scace, XpertHR Legal Editor

April 4, 2022

A new bill will require employers in Washington state to include salary information in job postings beginning January 1, 2023.

The bill, which applies to employers with 15 or more employees, requires employers to disclose a wage scale or salary range in each posting for a job opening, along with a general description of all the benefits and other compensation associated with the position.

A posting is defined as any solicitation intended to recruit job applicants for a specific available position that includes qualifications for desired applicants, including both an employer's direct recruiting efforts and recruiting through third parties. The law covers electronic as well as printed postings.

While the state previously required employers to disclose the minimum salary for a role upon the request of an applicant who had received an employment offer, the new law goes a step further in requiring that the range be posted publicly.

Employees and applicants have a private right of action under the law. Violations may result in monetary damages, civil penalties and attorney fees.

Pay transparency has gained traction in recent years as a tool to promote pay equity. According to proponents of these measures, requiring employers to inform job applicants of the salary range for a role helps to equalize the bargaining power of the employer and applicant during hiring pay discussions and prevents employers from systematically offering lower pay to certain applicants, such as women or racial minorities.

While seven states have passed laws requiring employers to disclose the pay range for a role to applicant at some point during the hiring process, Washington will be just the second state - following Colorado - to require the information to be included in job postings. New York City also passed a similar law earlier this year that takes effect in May.