Washington state sets the most stringent pay transparency requirements in the US, while end-of-year legislation addressing artificial intelligence in employment and protections for independent contractors face setbacks in New York.

Washington sets strict pay transparency standards. Legislation mandating pay transparency is a growing trend among US states. Washington state has just enacted the most stringent pay transparency requirements in the country, according to an article from law firm Littler Mendelson.

As of Jan. 1, Washington state employers must disclose the wage scale or salary range in each posting for each job opening; postings must also include a general description of all benefits and other compensation to be offered. The law applies if the employer has one Washington-based employee, engages in business in the state or recruits for jobs that could be filled remotely by a Washington-based worker.

“[E]mployers should prepare pay range, compensation and other benefits information for jobs that can be performed in Washington that they anticipate posting in early 2023, including specifics on commission-based and piece-rate pay as well as the types of paid time off offered,” Littler Mendelson advised. “Employers should add the required information to existing postings on or before Jan. 1 … or take them down, including any postings made at their direction by a third party.”

California’s approach to the issue was covered by Fiona Coombe, SIA’s director of legal and regulatory research, in a CWS 3.0 article in October. The wage transparency regulations taking effect in California and Washington follow similar legislation enacted in Colorado and New York.

New York and California are major employment hubs for big companies and have outsized influence when it comes to standard-setting for employers, Axios reported. “Expect to see this catch on widely in the new year,” it stated.

NY freelancer law vetoed. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Dec. 23 vetoed a bill that would have imposed requirements relating to payments and contracts with freelance individuals working as independent contractors. Modeled after New York City’s 2016 Freelance Isn’t Free Act, the legislation would have created a statewide law by the same name.

The bill, S8369-B, was intended to provide a recourse to freelancers experiencing wage theft and other violations under the labor law.

It would have created provisions related to the timely payment of freelancers and a right to a written contract from a hiring party. The law also would have provided an administrative process for the New York State Department of Labor to investigate complaints and enabled the DOL to sue hiring parties on wage claims at their discretion. Provisions also included a private right action for violations of this section with damages levels, a right to no retaliation, a right of action for the state attorney general for a pattern or practice of violations, a public awareness outreach campaign and a reporting requirement.

In her veto message, Hochul cited the lack of funding in the state’s budget for the law’s enforcement. “[T]his legislation would require an expense of at least several million dollars annually and require a significant increase in DOL staff. None of these costs are accounted for in the state financial plan,” she wrote.

The veto is not subject to an override because its legislative session has ended; it would need to be reintroduced in the new legislative session.

NYC AI law postponed. The New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection has delayed enforcing a law aimed at regulating the use of automation and artificial intelligence in employment decisions.

New York City in December passed the law that requires employers and employment agencies that use “automated employment decision tools” within the city to conduct independent audits of such tools for bias and provide disclosures to candidates and employees at least 10 business days prior to using automated employment decision tools. Violators may be subject to civil fines of up to $1,500 for each violation. The law was first scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.

The department is working on rules for Local Law 144. Due to the high volume of public comments, a second public hearing will be held on Jan. 23, according to the department. “In the meantime, we will not enforce Local Law 144 until April 15, 2023,” it stated.