NEW YORK (AP) — Help wanted. The job: Enforcing one of the nation’s most important wage disclosure laws. Location: New York.
Just four months ago, city lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to require many job advertisements in the nation’s most populous city to include salary scales, in the name of giving job applicants a employment – especially women and people of color – a better chance of getting a fair wage.
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But on the verge of implementing the measure, lawmakers voted on Thursday to delay it for five months after employers waved red flags, despite companies failing to get other changes they wanted.
The debate marked a high-profile test for a burgeoning list of US “pay transparency” laws. And the answer seems simple to Brooklyn restaurant waitress Elizabeth Stone.
“I believe I deserve to know how much I can earn as a waitress,” she said.
Stone has scoured job postings that don’t talk about salary, leaving her wondering if she should try to leave an employer she likes but wants to be paid more, and feeling like she has no leverage. to get a raise.
“You’re put in a really tough position of not wanting to upset your employer and not scaring away an opportunity, but also wanting to fight for what you know is what you deserve,” said Stone, 23, a member of the restaurant worker advocacy group ROC United.
In the past four years, at least seven states from California to Connecticut and at least two cities beyond New York — Cincinnati and Toledo, Ohio — have begun requiring employers to disclose salary information to job applicants. employment in certain circumstances. In many cases this means on request and/or after an interview, and there are exemptions for small businesses.
Colorado broke ground with a 2019 law requiring a pay range in all job postings.
New York’s new law is similar but only applies to employers with four or more workers. That’s about 1/3 of employers but about 90 percent of workers in the city, according to state Department of Labor statistics.
The law states that any job notice, whether an online ad or an internal company bulletin board, must state the minimum and maximum wage that the employer “good faith believes” that he will pay. There is no limit to the extent of the range, nor any prohibition against deviating from it if the “good faith” plan changes.
The laws were propelled by a gradually narrowing but persistent gap: The median wage for full-time female workers was about 83% of what men earned in 2021, according to federal data.
Women earn less than their male colleagues in nearly every field, with a few exceptions like social work performed in health care facilities, according to federal statistics.
Pay transparency requirements are “one of the most powerful tools we have to close these gaps,” said Beverly Neufeld, president of PowHer New York, an economic equality advocacy group. Workers benefit from a level playing field, she argues, and companies save time by getting candidates receptive to the salary offered.
Indeed, many employers already advertise what they pay.
Others say they have good reason not to.
Political consultant Amelia Adams said she strives to make her four-employee company a good place to work, offering health benefits, opportunities to work directly with clients and the best pay possible. But often she doesn’t advertise salaries for fear of turning off job seekers before they’ve even had a chance to speak.
“Publicly posting salaries for minority and women-owned small businesses makes it look like we’re not competitive,” said New York-based Adams.
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Nonprofit consultant Yolanda F. Johnson responded to similar concerns after a professional group she founded, Women of Color in Fundraising and Philanthropy, began demanding information about salaries in his positions.
Johnson argues the solution is fundraising and other work to build budgets, rather than masking salaries.
“If you think people are going to ignore you,” she said, “there are a lot of different things to put in place to be a successful nonprofit where, in turn, you can pay the people fairly.”
While small businesses and nonprofits fear losing candidates, some larger companies are reluctant to post New York salaries for jobs that could be done in less expensive locations. Some also fear a flood of resignations or requests for raises once current employees see what new hires can get.
“You have your existing population saying, ‘Well, if this is the range, why am I falling on the low side or the mid side? … (And) now I can see, as an employee of Company X, what an employee of Company Y earns,” notes Ian Carleton Schaefer, a New York City employment attorney who represents sports, entertainment, technology and other businesses.
He advises clients to prepare for the new law by making sure their current pay structure is fair and giving raises if it’s not. Either way, some wanted employers might decide to stop posting jobs and instead rely on unsolicited resumes and other recruiting methods, or might become more selective about the jobs they want. ‘they post and where,’ Schaefer said.
After Colorado’s law went into effect last year, some big companies posted jobs for workers everywhere but Colorado. The state Department of Labor and Employment did not respond to inquiries about the effects of the law.
The Democratic-dominated New York City Council voted 43-8 on Thursday to change its legislation to exempt jobs done entirely elsewhere and move the effective date from May 15 to November 1. But lawmakers had pushed back on other changes sought by business interests, such as exempting general “help wanted” signs and businesses with fewer than 15 employees.
Sponsor Nantasha Williams said the revamped legislation “meets everyone’s needs”. One of the measure’s opponents, council member Kalman Yeger, called it an “unconstitutional coercion of speech”. Both are Democrats; Yeger also ran as a Republican and a Conservative last year.
While pay transparency gets the attention of lawmakers, such laws go no further, notes Sian Beilock, president of the all-female Barnard College.
“Moving towards gender parity, in terms of the workplace, is a really important goal,” but it’s important to consider promotions, management responsibilities and other aspects, she said. . “I’m afraid focusing on salary is missing a bigger point.”
Associated Press reporter Joseph B. Frederick contributed to this report.