NYC companies are fast finding ways to circumvent new pay transparency legislation

NYC companies are fast finding ways to circumvent new pay transparency legislation

Less than 24 hours after the new pay transparency law took effect in New York on Nov. 1, companies had already found a way around its fundamental requirement.

Rather than giving the public a snapshot of what employees across the city were earning, many companies chose to display salary ranges that were too wide, making it impossible to extrapolate on worker salaries.

Salaries for New York-based tech jobs at Amazon have been listed by the company in the range of $88,400 to $185,000 per year. International consultancy Deloitte, one of the city’s largest employers, listed salary ranges between $86,800 and $161,200. Postings on the Wall Street Journal looked for reporters and producers with years of experience, but listed salary ranges between $40,000 and $160,000. Citigroup’s postings, however, took the cake – listing several job postings with a range between $0 and $2 million.

A Citigroup spokesperson later clarified that the mind-boggling post was caused by a computer glitch. The revised entry showed a salary range between $59,340.00 and $149,320.00.

The law requires employers to post minimum and maximum wages at an amount “that the employer believes in good faith at the time of posting that he would pay for the advertised job.” So far, it’s unclear whether the city’s Human Rights Commission will view the unrealistically wide pay scales as a “good faith” attempt to post salaries.

Jose Lua Rios, spokesman for the commission – which is responsible for enforcing the law and imposing penalties of up to $250,000 on companies that fail to comply after a warning – declined to say.

“The investigation here would be whether Citi has a good faith belief that it would pay a candidate zero dollars, and at the same time believes the upper range for the same position is $2 million,” he said.

Beverly Neufeld, president of PowHer New York and a supporter of the new legislation, said it would be up to the city to determine whether extended minimums and maximums could be considered not in “good faith,” and therefore in violation of the law. .

“Anyone looking at this range would realize that it is inaccurate,” she said. “This is not in accordance with the spirit of the law. This is not a good faith effort.

Despite the hiccups, Neufeld said the new law is largely having the desired effect, and she’s seen many examples of companies posting more reasonable pay scales for vacant positions. She said she thinks employers will understand that being transparent about pay will help them recruit and retain better talent.

“The law is not meant to punish. It is meant to move us forward,” she said. “We are at a time of culture change here. It will take a little longer for some employers to recognize that it is really to their advantage to move from secrecy to transparency.

Advocates like Neufeld are heralding the city’s new law as a way to address longstanding pay inequalities between men and women, as well as between white workers and workers of color.

Speaking on WNYC’s “Brian Lehrer Show” on Tuesday morning, council member Justin Brannan, one of the co-sponsors of the new legislation, said the law could be subject to further changes as problems would arise.

“I’m sure there will be companies trying to find loopholes here,” Brannan said. “If necessary, we will change the law. If we start to see companies that are [posting] the pay scale is $60,000 to $110,000, so I think we’re definitely going to have to change the law.

In a statement, Council Chair Adrienne Adams, who also co-sponsored the bill, said the Council was monitoring the law’s impact and did not provide additional comment immediately.

Some New Yorkers looking for work have been disappointed by the latest developments. Sabine Heinlein, author and freelance journalist, had spent several months applying for jobs and combing through job applications, cover letters and editing tests, only to receive an offer so low she wouldn’t consider not even the post.

“There are a lot of jobs I wouldn’t have applied for if I had known the salary,” she said.

Although she had recently been hired for a new full-time position, she was eager for the city to phase in its pay transparency law, thinking it might save time and energy for other job seekers. use. But less than 24 hours after putting it on, she felt deflated.

“It requires awareness on the part of employers, and there are simply far too many employers who lack awareness,” she said. “It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. I think the legislators could have easily foreseen this.

Citigroup, Deloitte and The Wall Street Journal did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

August Aldebot-Green, a spokesperson for Amazon, said the company intends to comply with New York City law and that location and level of experience may represent scales. pay equity: “Amazon is committed to pay equity, and we already list pay for certain roles, even where it’s not required, along with information about benefits and other forms of compensation.

This article has been updated to include comments from Citigroup.

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