What are the Salary Transparency laws?

At a glance

As salary transparency becomes more prevalent in the US, it's important for new business owners to grasp the nuances of these laws, which are designed to foster fairness and equality in pay practices. By understanding and adhering to these regulations, businesses can not only comply with legal requirements but also cultivate a positive work environment that attracts and retains top talent.

Published on:
May 3, 2024

What Salary Transparency Laws Are About

Here are the key points:

  • Sharing Pay Ranges: Laws often require mentioning salary ranges in job ads or during interviews to maintain fairness.
  • No Asking About Past Salary: Avoid asking applicants about previous salaries to prevent unfair pay based on past jobs.
  • Ongoing Transparency: Sometimes, you must share pay ranges even after hiring, like during promotions or transfers.
How Laws Differ

The specifics of salary transparency laws can vary significantly from one jurisdiction to another. Some states may have blanket requirements that apply to all businesses, while others may exempt smaller enterprises or have different rules based on the number of employees. Moreover, the scope of what needs to be disclosed, such as bonuses, benefits, and other forms of compensation, can also differ​.

How It Affects Hiring

The implementation of salary transparency laws has a profound impact on how businesses approach hiring and compensation negotiations. Employers must now proactively disclose salary ranges, which not only influences job advertising strategies but also sets the tone for discussions about compensation expectations​.

Why It Matters

Beyond mere legal compliance, understanding and embracing salary transparency laws signify a commitment to fairness and equity in the workplace. These laws reflect a broader societal shift toward greater transparency and merit-based compensation practices, contributing to a more positive employer brand and enhancing the company's appeal to prospective employees​.

In summary, navigating salary transparency laws involves more than just following regulations; it's about fostering a culture of fairness, trust, and transparency within your organization. By staying informed and aligning with these principles, businesses can position themselves as ethical and attractive employers in today's competitive market.

State Salary Transparency Laws

The rules around salary transparency can vary a lot depending on which state you're in, and not following them can lead to penalties. Let's take a close look at what's required in different states:


If you have 15 or more employees, you must include pay scales in job ads since January 1, 2023. Large employers also have to report salaries by race, ethnicity, and gender each year to promote fair pay​.


Starting January 1, 2021, all job postings and promotions must include pay ranges, making it one of the earliest states to do this​.


Since October 1, 2021, you have to tell applicants the wage range if they ask, right from the start of the hiring process​.


You must share pay ranges when asked by applicants or current employees moving to new roles in Hawaii, maintaining transparency throughout their careers​.


From January 1, 2025, you need to include pay info in job postings, giving businesses time to prepare​.


Since October 1, 2020, you have to give job candidates the wage range if they ask, and this also applies to current employees requesting their position's pay range​.


Starting October 1, 2021, you must share the wage or salary range after an interview​.

New York

As of September 17, 2023, job ads must include salary info, affecting employers with four or more employees​.

Rhode Island

From January 1, 2023, you have to share the wage range before discussing pay with candidates or employees, during hiring, role changes, and periodically during employment​.


Since January 1, 2023, job postings for companies with 15 or more employees must include pay scales and a full breakdown of benefits​.

These laws aim to make pay more transparent, reduce pay gaps, and make hiring fairer. By following these rules, you not only stay legal but also create a workplace that's open and attractive to top talent.

City-Specific Salary Transparency Laws

Many cities also have their own rules that can be similar to or more detailed than state laws:

New Jersey - Jersey City

From April 13, 2022, job ads must include salary ranges and benefit details for employers with five or more employees​.

New York - Ithaca

Starting September 1, 2022, all job postings must mention the salary range, affecting employers with four or more employees​.

New York - NYC

Since November 1, 2022, job ads must mention a minimum and maximum salary, covering all employers with four or more employees​.

New York - Westchester County

From November 6, 2022, job ads must mention the salary range, including remote roles that could be done from Westchester County​.

Ohio - Cincinnati

As of March 13, 2020, employers with more than 15 employees must share salary ranges after making a job offer​.

Ohio - Toledo

Starting June 25, 2020, employers with 15 or more employees must share salary ranges after making a job offer​.

These local laws focus on when and how to disclose salary information in job ads. Following both state and local laws helps build a reputation for fairness and transparency, which can attract a diverse and motivated workforce.

Complying with Salary Transparency Laws

Following salary transparency laws requires a plan that includes updating HR processes, ongoing training, and using technology. Here are straightforward best practices to help your business stay within these laws:

Update Job Listings

Make sure all job postings, whether for promotions or new hires, mention the salary range clearly. Update your templates and guidelines for consistency.

Provide Regular Training

Train your HR team and managers on salary transparency laws, covering local rules, why they're important, and what happens if you don't follow them.

Use Compliance Software

Invest in HR software that helps you follow these laws. Modern systems can add salary ranges to job postings automatically and track compliance.

Check Your Compliance

Regularly review your company's compliance with these laws. Check job postings and hiring practices to spot any issues early.

Keep Communication Open

Make it easy for employees to ask about salaries or raise concerns. Open communication builds trust.

Document Salary Decisions

Keep good records of how you decide on salaries. Include market research, reasons for pay decisions, and any differences in pay.

Stay Updated

Stay informed about any new laws that might affect your business. Being ready for changes helps you stay compliant.

Following these best practices not only keeps you within the law but also helps you build trust with your employees by showing fairness in how you handle pay.

The Influence of Salary Transparency Laws on Recruitment Strategies

Salary transparency laws have a big impact on how businesses hire, making it easier to attract talent and create a fair workplace. Here's how these laws change recruitment:

Better Company Image

Sharing salary ranges publicly makes a company look fair and honest. This attracts candidates who like transparency and sets the company apart from others. A good image helps attract top talent and makes hiring more efficient​.

More Diversity

Transparent salaries help reduce biases. Everyone gets a fair offer based on their job and skills, not past salaries or negotiation skills. This approach brings in a wider range of candidates, including those who may have been underpaid before​.

Improved Candidate Experience

Candidates like knowing upfront about pay. It saves time for both them and the company. Being clear about pay makes candidates feel valued and respected, leading to a better hiring experience​.

Lower Turnover

Clear expectations about pay and career growth reduce feelings of being undervalued. This transparency not only helps in hiring but also keeps employees happy and committed​.

Legal Compliance

Following these laws avoids legal problems like fines or a damaged reputation. Being proactive in following the rules prevents disputes with employees or candidates over pay​.

Faster Recruitment

Clear salary ranges speed up hiring. HR teams can focus on candidates comfortable with the pay range, saving time on negotiations and making hiring quicker​.

Using these strategies in hiring not only meets legal requirements but also makes operations smoother and builds a positive reputation. Salary transparency isn't just about following the law; it's a smart move in today's job market.


Please note that this article offers a detailed look at salary transparency laws in the United States as of the date of publication. However, these laws are subject to frequent updates and can differ significantly depending on your location. We urge HR professionals, recruiters, and employers to directly review the relevant laws in their area or seek legal guidance to ensure complete compliance and stay current with best practices. While this guide aims to provide information and aid navigation, it is not a substitute for personalized legal advice.

Main takeaway

As salary transparency laws become more widespread in the US, their impact on workplaces and hiring is significant and varied. These laws aim to make pay fairer and reduce wage gaps, requiring businesses to respond strategically. By being transparent about salaries, companies not only follow the law but also create a culture of fairness that can improve their reputation and attract diverse talent.

For HR teams and recruiters, understanding and adapting to these laws isn't just about following rules—it's about improving how you hire and run your business. Transparent pay practices make hiring smoother, improve how candidates feel, and make employees happier by setting clear expectations.

Embracing these changes can also make your business stand out as an ethical leader, making it easier to attract top talent in a competitive market. Looking ahead, staying informed and proactive about new salary transparency rules will be crucial for staying competitive and being seen as a fair and desirable place to work.

Salary transparency laws are reshaping how employment works in different places. Being transparent about pay isn't just about following rules—it's a smart move that can improve how you manage talent and run your business.

About the author

Casey Pontrelli

Casey Pontrelli is a multi-talented professional with a background in content creation, branding, and social media marketing. Whether writing for a newspaper, eCommerce website, B2B startup, or a marketing agency, she has taken her strong background in journalism and turned her focus to SEO and content marketing. She’s written about everything from boutiques to cars to small businesses, and enjoys most when she knows her writing has had an impact. When she’s not writing up a storm or creating attention-grabbing social media posts, Casey enjoys hanging out with her two cats, Eddy and Larry, going on long walks in the Green Belt, and, predictably, reading.

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