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On March 30, 2022, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed into law Senate Bill (SB) 5761, a measure that requires employers to affirmatively disclose in each job posting open to applicants the salary range or wage scale to be offered, as well as a general description of all benefits and other compensation for the position. Effective January 1, 2023, the law applies to employers with fifteen or more employees and places this requirement on certain public, as well as private, employers that do business in Washington. The law does not specify that all of those employees must be in Washington State. The law also does not address whether it covers postings for remote positions.

With this law, Washington joins Colorado and New York City in imposing a requirement to include pay information in job postings.

SB 5761 revises a 2019 amendment to Washington’s 2018 Equal Pay and Opportunities Act (EPOA) that was added to include protections for applicants for employment, transfer, or promotion, expanding the EPOA’s purview beyond current employees. The 2019 amendment required disclosure of wage scale and salary range information to applicants only upon request. As noted, the new law requires affirmative disclosure of wage, salary, and benefit information in job postings, but it leaves unchanged an employer’s requirement to provide the same information to employees offered new positions or promotions within the company only when requested.

The law does not appear to require job postings, but if a company chooses to post a job, the law would apply. A job “posting” is defined as “any solicitation intended to recruit job applicants for a specific available position, including recruitment done directly by an employer or indirectly through a third party, and includes any postings done electronically, or with a printed hard copy, that includes qualifications for desired applicants.” The new law also removes earlier language that had stated that if no wage scale or salary range existed, the employer would be required to provide the minimum wage or salary expectation set by the employer prior to posting the position, or making a transfer or promotion.

Under the EPOA, job applicants and employees may be entitled to certain damages and other remedies, potentially including reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs, for violations of the statute.

Key Takeaways

Beginning on January 1, 2023, employers that conduct business in Washington and have fifteen or more employees are required to ensure that each job posting includes the wage scale or salary range for the position, as well as a general description of all benefits and other compensation to be offered.

Ogletree Deakins’ Seattle office and Pay Equity Practice Group will continue to monitor and report on developments with respect to the EPOA and will post updates to the firm’s Washington and Pay Equity blogs as additional information becomes available. Important information for employers is also available via the firm’s webinar and podcast programs.


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Pay Equity

Recent high-profile lawsuits and increased activity from state legislatures have thrust pay equity issues to the forefront for today’s employers. As the momentum of legislation, regulation, and corporate initiatives focused on identifying and correcting pay disparities continues to grow, our attorneys are ready to assist with the full spectrum of pay equity-related issues.

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