California employees have more access to wage and salary data than ever thanks to the “pay transparency” law that took effect at the beginning of 2023. The law requires businesses and other employers that have at least 15 employees to include wage or salary ranges on all of their job postings. These requirements apply to internal as well as external listings and advertisements.
While the Golden State is often at the forefront when it comes to protecting employee rights, it isn’t the first to enact a pay transparency law. Three other states already have them and New York City also enacted one in recent years as well.
Pay transparency laws help to prevent employers from bringing in or keeping employees at a lower rate of pay than their designated minimum for the job. It also lessens the chance that they’ll pay someone at a rate above the maximum when they’re paying others in the same position at a lower rate.
Many California employers must now submit pay information for historically underpaid workers
The law also requires some employers, including all private employers with a workforce of 100 employees or more to submit pay data to the state based on race, ethnicity and gender. These are three areas where pay gaps far too often still exist. Those who don’t comply with this requirement can be fined as much as $10,000.
Santa Barbara State Sen. Monique Limón, who authored the legislation, called it “a big moment for California workers, especially women and people of color who have long been impacted by systemic inequities that have left them earning far less than their colleagues.” The legislation was also championed by California’s First Partner Jennifer Siebold Newsom.
Greater transparency can help you advocate for your rights
No single law, of course, will solve the systemic issue of pay inequity or prevent all employees from being paid less than their colleagues for the same work. However, as more transparency is required of employers, employees will have more evidence that they can use to advocate for the pay they’re due.
There are a lot of ways for employers to violate wage laws – either intentionally or unintentionally. If you believe that your employer is stepping on your rights, it’s important to learn more. If you’re not getting anywhere by addressing the issue with your employer, seeking sound legal guidance can help.