Hot Topic: Pay Transparency

In this article, we explore recent activities in New York and New Jersey around pay transparency. We’ll also examine the transparency movement’s goals, and some tactics companies are using to step up communications around employee compensation.

A Game-changer?

Relating the issue of pay transparency to cards, it would be like playing a game of poker versus a game of blackjack. In a poker game, players hold their cards close to their chest and keep their hands hidden from other players. This is like the lack of transparency in pay, where employers hold all the cards and keep their compensation practices hidden from employees.

On the other hand, in a game of blackjack, the dealer’s cards are face up, and the player can see the dealer’s hand. This is like the concept of pay transparency, where employers disclose compensation information to employees and job candidates. When an employer puts all the cards on the table, employees can make informed career decisions and negotiate for fair pay.

New York and New Jersey; Community-driven Initiatives

Pay transparency is a hot topic in many geographies, including New Jersey and New York. In New Jersey, Jersey City enacted its pay transparency law in early 2022. The purpose of this local law is to address wage disparities experienced by minority individuals within the city’s community. The law requires employers to disclose a minimum and maximum annual salary or hourly wage in any job postings or advertisements, including those related to promotion or transfer opportunities, regardless of whether the position is permanent or temporary. Non-compliance with the Pay Transparency law can result in fines of up to $2,000.

In New York, New York City’s law, which requires employers to post a good-faith salary range with every posting, took effect in November 2022 Similar laws have been adopted by Ithaca (effective September 1, 2022) and Westchester County, New York (effective November 6, 2022). The trend of pay transparency laws is sweeping across local legislative bodies.

Gaining Momentum

Pay transparency is a trend gaining traction throughout the United States, with several states and localities having passed pay transparency laws since 2020. The laws vary by jurisdiction, but employers must disclose compensation information to employees and job candidates. By promoting fairness and equity in the workplace, pay transparency can help businesses comply with the laws and result in other benefits, including:

  • Promoting a philosophy of fairness and equity,
  • Increasing employee trust and communication,
  • Helping attract and retain top talent,
  • Reducing the gender pay gap,
  • Improving company culture,
  • Increasing productivity,
  • Identify pay disparities so you can rectify them.


Many companies are starting to create policies around pay transparency. These policies vary depending on the company and the industry but generally involve disclosing compensation information to employees and job candidates. Here are some examples of what these policies might look like:


  • Posting salary ranges in job postings: According to a 2020 studyby a compensation firm, 60% of 1000 people surveyed would switch companies to one with pay transparency.
  • Providing salary information to employees: As conversations about salary become more normalized, people are discussing salary more openly. Some people are even talking about pay with their kids.
  • Conducting pay audits: Is pay transparency working? Some companies are conducting pay audits to identify pay disparities based on gender, race, and other protected characteristics. Objective data can help eliminate bias.
  • Creating salary bands: With data from pay audits in hand, you can generate salary bandsaligned with competitive market analysis so that employees are paid fairly for their work. Consider sharing the data and how you applied it with your employees.
  • Offering bonuses and incentives: Bonuses and incentives based on merit can be integrated to help reward employees who meet specific performance metrics. Performance-based bonuses can help retain high performers who have reached the top of a salary band.
  • Providing training and development: People prefer to avoid feeling they are in a dead-end job. Training and development programs can help empower employees to advance and earn higher salaries.

Sharing Your Why and How about Pay

How you communicate around pay contributes to employees’ perception of transparency. You will likely never reach 100% consensus with any policy, but it goes a long way when people understand the why behind decisions and how they connect to the compensation strategy.

About Equiliem

Equiliem (www.equiliem.com) believes in empowering success. It’s our job to cultivate relationships that connect people and employers in a way that is inclusive, intelligent, and allows both to thrive. 

Across the U.S., leading companies in healthcare, government, light industrial manufacturing, professional services, and energy rely on us for their workforce solutions. Our recruiting and HR services include contract and direct hire staffing, Payrolling/EOR, Independent Contractor Compliance, and Managed Services.

Since 1995, we’ve helped shape our industry. Today, we continue to research, ask questions, and continuously enhance the candidate journey and client experience.