Washington State Expands Equal Pay Law

By Calvin Gower, Trüpp.

Additional requirements will be added to Washington’s equal pay law on July 28, 2019. This expansion will include further steps to contribute toward gender equality in employee pay. The changes are focused on salary history inquiries, following the trend of other west-coast states, Oregon and California. Employers with 15 or more employees will no longer be allowed to directly ask an applicant about their salary history or indirectly acquire the information from an ex-employer.

This amendment will also require employers to do the following when requested:

  • Provide minimum wage or salary for the position sought.
  • Provide a wage scale or salary range to current employees during the case of an internal transfer, new position, or promotion.

There are two exceptions to the salary history ban:

  • The employer may confirm history, in the circumstance that an applicant voluntarily reveals the information.
  • The employer may confirm salary history after pay negotiations have taken place and an offer of employment that includes compensation has been made.

So, what should Washington employers be doing to prepare for these changes?

  • Remove any requests or references to salary history from the hiring process paperwork.
  • Evaluate compensation strategy by establishing wage scales and salary ranges for your current positions.
  • Notify and train management and recruitment teams about the new regulations coming into place.