Council Eases Salary Disclosure Law Rollback Bill — But Still Aims for Delay to November
In job ads all but the smallest businesses will have to say roughly how much they plan to pay, and just hanging up a “help wanted” sign won’t get an employer off the hook.
City Council members are forging ahead with a bill to delay the May 15 launch of New York’s salary-disclosure law for help wanted ads — but now with significant changes that would exempt far fewer jobs.
Passed by the Council in December, the salary disclosure law requires private firms with four or more employees to publicly post minimum and maximum pay ranges in advertisements for open positions.
But a fresh City Council this year had a few second thoughts. Last month, Civil and Human Rights Committee Chair Nantasha Williams (D-Queens) introduced legislation that would have exempted small businesses with five to 14 workers from complying with the law.
It would also have excluded hiring notices that don’t specify the position — such as “help wanted” signs — and “positions that are not required to be performed, at least in part, in the city of New York.”
Pay equity advocates who’d championed the original law decried the exemptions as loopholes that would have gutted the law, allowing employers to claim jobs as remote and also excluding tens of thousands of low-wage jobs.
“We are pleased that the New York City Council heard the concerns of advocates and workers, took them seriously, and made meaningful changes to Int. 134,” said Beverly Neufeld, President of PowHer New York, a network of groups advocating for economic equality. “We look forward to working with the Council on additional pay equity legislation to fulfill the goal of eliminating the race and gender wage gap.”
Neufeld said the revised version of the legislation could be voted on as early as next week.
Other provisions would add protections for businesses, clarifying that only existing employees — not outside applicants — could potentially sue a company. Employers would also have a chance to prove they’ve corrected a violation to avoid getting fined.
‘It’s a Good Bill Now’
Kathryn Wylde, president of the Partnership for New York City — a large coalition of CEOs that has been lobbying for changes to the salary disclosure law based on concerns about implementation challenges — said the protections for businesses included in the amended legislation were helpful.
“Employers in the business and nonprofit sectors appreciate the willingness of the Council to reconsider elements of the salary transparency bill that made compliance difficult,” she said.
Wylde also reflected on what the amendment says about the new City Council and Speaker Adrienne Adams (D-Queens).
“This is a step toward the type of consultation that we hope the new Council leadership will build into the legislative process before mandates on employers are enacted,” she said. “Advocacy groups may be well intentioned, but they have little concept of the cost and administrative burdens that this type of legislation creates, especially for small organizations.”
The numbers that sparked the disclosure law point to significant discrepancies in the average pay between women and men in New York City.
According to a December report by the City Council, a white woman earns 84 cents per dollar earned by a white man. The average income is 63 cents per dollar for an Asian woman, 55 cents for an African American woman and 46 cents for a Latina woman.
Bronx Councilmember Amanda Farías, co-chair of the women’s caucus and chair of the committee on economic development, said she had concerns about the initial version of the legislation to amend the law based on conversations with women’s and labor groups.
“Working through with the other sponsors on the bill and folks in City Hall and making sure the advocates’ and the union members’ voices and desires to see the bill be different actually came to fruition — I saw that process through and that’s why I feel good signing onto the amended bill,” she told THE CITY. “It’s a good bill now.”