The District of Columbia is the latest jurisdiction to enact legislation requiring employers to disclose pay rates and healthcare benefits for open positions.

The Wage Transparency Omnibus Amendment of 2023 — which amends the Wage Transparency Act of 2014 — introduces new mandates and restrictions that apply to all nongovernmental employers, regardless of size. The legislation will require employers with at least one employee in DC to disclose the minimum and maximum projected salaries or hourly pay in all job listings and position descriptions, regardless of whether the posting advertises a job, internal promotion or transfer opportunity.

Although not required in job postings, the Act also requires employers to disclose to applicants “the existence of healthcare benefits that employees may receive” before the applicant’s first interview.

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser signed the law on Jan. 12. Bills enacted in the District of Columbia must be approved by the US Congress before becoming law; pending approval after the 30-day congressional review, the new rule will take effect on June 30.

“Employers may have to consider more thoroughly how they negotiate starting pay,” employment law attorney D’Ontae D. Sylvertooth of law firm Ogletree Deakins wrote in a blog post. “Employers may want to look at creating objective and defensible reasons for offering different starting salaries or hourly pay for a position for which they are actively seeking applicants.”

Pay Transparency’s Nationwide Impact

DC’s regulations follow in the footsteps of several states across the US that have passed pay transparency rules including New York, California, Washington and Colorado. Gov. Josh Green of Hawaii and Gov. JB Pritzker of Illinois also signed pay transparency bills into law last year.

At the federal level, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-Washington DC, has introduced HR 1599, also known as the Salary Transparency Act, which would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to require covered employers to disclose the wage range for open positions in both public and internal job postings.

Pay transparency is a critical component in the fight for equal pay, Colleen E. Coveney, a partner at law firm Katz Banks Kumin, writes in a blog post. But ensuring the law is effective will take work.

“Employers will need to implement organizational changes and planning to ensure that they are consistently posting adequate and defensible salary ranges,” Coveney writes. “This task may be most urgent among publicly traded companies as regulating bodies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission are becoming increasingly focused on human capital disclosures.  And, employees, for their part, will need to make sure to enforce their rights — to get the information about pay to which they are entitled and advocate for equal pay.”