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Salary Transparency

What is the issue?

Salary transparency is the practice of disclosing salary and compensation publicly. These policies are intended to fight pay disparities and discriminatory compensation practices that most often impact women and other underserved groups. Similar to board diversity, almost all of the action has been in the states and not federally on Capitol Hill.

Why do nonprofits care?

This issue is relevant for nonprofits in the same way it is relevant for all employers: it can avoid discriminatory pay practices and it can save time on recruitment and interviews.

Nonprofits could face an added pressure to make salaries transparent. Nonprofit organizations are often held to a higher standard for promoting equity. Being transparent with salaries might be a policy promoted by leadership, funders, clients, and/or staff. From Nonprofit Quarterly: “Supporters and leaders of nonprofits don’t want their organizations to contribute to or exemplify the problem of income inequality, wittingly or unwittingly.”

The challenges are also similar across various sectors. Employers might worry that salaries are too low to attract good candidates in a job posting (and especially for nonprofits who want the chance to wow candidates with their mission, benefits, or great colleagues, rather than just a salary). Employers also might have to address the issue with current staff if the salaries being offered new hires are out of alignment with current salaries.

Is there legislation about salary transparency?

The movement for pay transparency dates back to the 2010s, when states and localities began to ban employers from inquiring about a job candidate’s salary history. Such a prohibition, now law in at least 21 states, aims to stop low-ball, below-market offers to the underpaid, particularly women and people of color whose pay has been hurt by discrimination. Unlike board diversity, legislation addressing salary transparency has been applied to both nonprofit and commercial entities.

New York City began to require salary ranges in job advertisements in November 2022. California and Washington State followed this past January, and New York State’s new salary transparency law was signed into law in December and will take effect September 17, 2023. The New York State law will include two important pay transparency provisions.

  • It requires compensation or range of compensation and the job description for the position.
  • The law prohibits employers from taking any adverse action against an applicant or current employee for “exercising any rights under the law,” such as asking for a pay range or job description.

Also, on March 3, Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law legislation that would specify that the state’s new salary transparency law, going into effect this September, will also apply to remote work opportunities. The legislation, however, specifies that existing laws around salary disclosure exclude remote work performed entirely out of state. 

The Virginia legislature is considering legislation to prohibit employers from:

  • Seeking the wage or salary history of a prospective employee.
  • Refusing to interview, hire, employ, or promote a prospective employee for not providing wage or salary history.
  • Failing or refusing to provide a prospective employee the wage or salary range for a position for which the prospective employee is applying.

Similarly, the Montana legislature is considering legislation which would require employers to disclose in each job posting the hourly or salary compensation, or the range of compensation and general description of all the benefits and other compensation to be offered to the hired applicant. The bill would also require employers to make reasonable efforts to announce, post, or otherwise make known all opportunities for promotion to all current employees on the same calendar day and prior to making a promotion decision.

What to keep an eye on?

Salary transparency is getting a lot of buzz and there appears to be momentum for several more states to enact related laws in the coming years. Accordingly, The Nonprofit Alliance we will continue to track proposed legislation relating to salary transparency in both the states and Capitol Hill. It will be important for nonprofits to know and comply with these new laws.

Read More…

Article 12/12/2022: Many Nonprofit Salaries are Going Public Thanks to New Laws and the Job Market

TNPA Blog and Webinar: Equitable Compensation: From Strategy to Equity — Highlights from a conversation

Article: Pros and cons of salary transparency

Article: How the BBC Women Are Working Toward Equal Pay

Read More About Specific Legislation…

TNPA follows state legislation relevant to the nonprofit sector.

Article: California Passes Law Requiring Companies to Post Salary Ranges on Job Listings

New York City Salary Transparency Fact Sheet. Starting November 1, 2022, employers advertising jobs in New York City must include a good faith salary range for every job, promotion, and transfer opportunity advertised.

Article: New York State Businesses Brace for Pay Transparency Rules

A List of States and Localities that have Outlawed Salary History Questions

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