Washington State Implements Salary History Ban

In early May, the Washington state governor signed the Washington Equal Pay and Opportunities Act (EPOA). This act imposes pay transparency requirements that go beyond most other pay equity laws and will likely affect most employers in our state.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • The EPOA prohibits Washington employers from inquiring about an applicant’s salary history and requires that employers with more than 15 employees provide the minimum wage or salary range information upon request.
  • Employees that are offered an internal transfer or job promotion can request the wage scale or salary range for the new position.
  • If a wage scale or salary range has not been established for a position, employers must set the minimum wage or salary range expectation before posting the position or making the promotion or position transfer.
  • Employers are allowed to confirm an applicant’s compensation history if applicants voluntarily share it, or after making an offer of employment with compensation.

Here’s what you can do to prepare:

  • Review and update or establish salary ranges and pay scales if they do not exist.
  • Set minimum salary expectations before posting a position if you do not have established pay ranges.
  • If you have a current employee transferring to a new position and you know their current salary at the time of an offer, set compensation for this employee based on the established salary range for the new position, without referring to the employee’s current or prior salary history.
  • Review and update job applications, interview guides, postings, recruiting materials, or questionnaires. Remove any questions that ask for current or past salary history or wage information.
  • Train leadership, managers, supervisors, interviewers, and recruiting personnel to not to ask questions about salary history.
  • Consider implementing a policy allowing only Human Resources to inquire about compensation.
  • Be prepared to provide salary range information to an applicant after an offer has been made.
  • Train managers and HR representatives how to respond to employee questions about compensation or concerns they may have about inequitable pay.
  • Share information about internal processes in place to share those concerns.
  • Consider conducting a pay gap audit to identify pay inequities and establish a plan to remedy them.

The new Washington EPOA law takes effect on July 27, 2019.

How can we help?

Establish Salary Ranges and Pay Scales: We have extensive experience in designing, developing, and implementing comprehensive compensation plans including job evaluation systems, market pricing, pay structure development, performance management, executive compensation, and incentive design.

Conduct a Pay Gap Analysis: Compensation Works can partner with you to assess potential risks, conduct a thorough internal equity analysis, and review current job descriptions and classifications.  We conduct a comprehensive analysis to identify pay gaps and pay practices that may be causing these pay gaps.

Compensation Works has the expertise and bandwidth to support your organizations’ unique compensation structure, communication, and benefits needs. We customize our offerings to support what you need when you need it. We partner with your team to provide meaningful feedback, recommendations, and observations, and we add bench strength and a unique perspective to your busy team.