New Washington Law Initiates Job Posting Requirements

Beginning January 1, 2023, employers in Washington with 15 or more employees will be required to disclose the wage scale, salary range, and a general description of benefits and compensation offered when posting job openings. This new law was signed on March 30, 2022, and is a revision of a 2019 amendment to the Washington Equal Pay and Opportunities Act which required employers to disclose the wage scale and salary range only if requested by an applicant. The applicant’s request is no longer needed under the new law. The information is automatically provided as part of the application process.

The 2019 amendment is not changed by the new law when transfers and promotions of current employees are transacted. The employer only provides the required compensation information when the current employee makes the request. A portion of the 2019 amendment was removed by the legislature that stated that if there was no wage scale or salary range, the employer is only required to give a minimum wage or salary expectation before posting the position or making the internal transfer or promotion.

Creating job postings is not what the new law requires employers to do. The posting obligations are imposed on those that the employer chooses to create. Posting, according to the law, is defined as “any solicitation intended to recruit job applicants for a specific available position…” This is either through the employer or a third party, whether electronic or hard copy. Based on the definition of posting, a Help Wanted sign will not trigger a posting requirement. The law does not make it clear whether employers will be liable for any noncompliance by third-party posting boards. This includes third-party internet search engines.

New positions or promotions that will trigger the posting obligations are not defined by the law. If an aggressive approach is followed by Washington, a new position can be created by changing an employee’s job title. Employers who are considering reorganization or restructuring can avoid uncertainties by implementing these changes before January 1, 2023. General descriptions are required by the new law that includes benefits and compensation. Violation of the new law may result in the same consequences as any other violation of the Washington Equal Pay and Opportunities Act.