The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries recently released its administrative policy explaining the job posting requirements under the Equal Pay and Opportunities Act. These requirements, which are effective January 1, 2023, apply to job postings that could be filled by a Washington-based employee if the employer already has at least one employee based in Washington and the employer has 15 or more employees worldwide. The key parts of the new administrative policy are summarized below:
- Existing employees are considered “applicants,” so the requirements apply to both external and internal postings.
- Each posting for each job opening must include the wage scale or salary range:
- The wage scale or salary range from the lowest to the highest pay for the posted position. If there is a “starting range” or “starting rate” for an initial time frame of employment or probationary period, the starting range or rate may be listed on the posting but the entire scale or range must also be listed on the posting. For example, the employer intends to hire an applicant and specifies that new hires generally start between $60,000 and $65,000 per year. The employer further specifies that the hired applicant’s placement within the entire range is based on qualifications and professional experience and lists the entire salary range for the position as between $60,000 and $70,000 per year. In this case, both the “starting range” and the entire salary range should be included.
- If the employer posts a job that is compensated by commission rates, the employer should include the rate or rate range (percentage or otherwise) that would be offered to the hired applicant.
- If the employer posts a job that is compensated by piece-rate, the employer should include the agreed piece-rate or wage scale plus agreed piece-rate.
- If the employer does not already have an existing wage scale or salary range for a position, a scale or range should be created prior to publishing the posting.
- A scale or range’s minimum and maximum should be clear without open-ended phrases such as “$60,000/per year and up” (with no top of the range), or “up to $29.00/hour” (with no bottom of the scale).
- If the wage scale or salary range changes after a posting has been published, an employer should update the posting to reflect the updated wage scale or salary range.
- If the employer offers a different position than what the applicant applied for, the employer may offer the applicant the wage scale or salary range specific to the position offered, rather than the position in the posting.
- Each posting for each job opening must include a general description of all the benefits and other compensation for a specific available position to be offered to the hired applicant, including, but not limited to:
- Health care benefits (with types of insurance listed; e.g., medical, dental, long-term disability, etc.).
- Retirement benefits (with types of benefits listed; e.g., 401K plan, deferred compensation, etc.).
- Paid time off and vacation time, such as 8 hours per month or 12 days per year.
- Paid holidays, such as 10 paid holidays per year. The employer does not have to list each paid holiday.
- Paid sick leave that is more generous than that provided by Washington State law or any local ordinance, such as 3 hours of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked or 8 hours of paid sick leave per month.
- Other compensation, including but not limited to bonuses, commissions, profit-sharing, stock options, or other forms of compensation (and any taxable fringe benefits).
- If the general description of benefits changes after a posting has been published, an employer should update the posting to reflect the updated benefit information.
- On electronic job postings, employers must include a general description of benefits and other compensation but may choose to utilize a link or hyperlink to lead the applicant to a more detailed description. If the benefits and other compensation information is available on the original or subsequent web pages, then the information needs to only be listed once.
- Examples of job postings that meet the legal requirements:
- An electronic reader board outside of a business that reads, “Help Wanted- Server. Food Handler’s Certification Needed. Offering: $24.00-$26.00 per hour, medical benefits, 70 vacation hours per year, and $500 sign-on bonus.”
- A social media post that reads, “Seeking applicants for a Billing Specialist position. Must have 2 years of medical bill processing experience. $30.00 - $40.00 per hour, medical, vision, and dental benefits, 401k retirement plan, and stock options available. More information can be found via hyperlink here.”
- An online job board posting that reads, “We are looking for a qualified applicant who has experience with use of spreadsheets and database software for aData Analyst role. Salary range is $60,000 - $80,000 per year. Medical, vision, dental benefits, tuition reimbursements, and stock options available for the hired applicant. More information can be found via hyperlink here.”
The administrative policy also addresses the requirements for equal pay, equal career advancement, open wage discussions, wage and salary history protections for applicants; if you have any questions about those requirements, or if you would like a review of your job postings, please contact Karen Sutherland, firstname.lastname@example.org or Jennifer Berry, email@example.com, or any other member of our Labor and Employment Law team.
This information should not be relied on for any purpose because it is a broad overview of a complex legal topic, and it also does not constitute legal advice.