By Jolinda Pullen

Talking about money can be a sensitive topic for many people, and the culture surrounding it varies greatly depending on where you are in the world. For example, in Japan, discussing finances can be considered impolite. Conversely, in some Middle Eastern countries, wealth is viewed as a symbol of success and status, and public displays of it are common. For Western cultures, like the United States and Canada, discussing money is becoming more normalized, particularly among younger generations.

Regardless of cultural differences, there is an increasing move towards openness and transparency when it comes to discussing finances. Pay transparency is becoming an increasingly important topic in the workplace, and New York State is taking steps to address the issue.

Thanks to a delay caused by A999/S1326, a law NY Governor Kathy Hochul signed last month, amending the impending salary transparency law, employers have until September 17, 2023 to get into compliance. The new pay transparency legislation makes NY one of seven states to have passed such laws, requiring employers (with four or more employees) to disclose the minimum and maximum annual salary or hourly range when advertising a job, promotion, or transfer opportunity. Employers must also disclose the job description if one already exists and note when the job will be performed physically, at least in part, in New York State or if the job reports to a supervisor or other site located in New York State.

Pay transparency laws are designed to help close the gender and racial pay gaps that still exist. Women earn only 83 cents for every dollar made by men, and the gap is even greater for black and Latinx employees. In addition to the pay transparency legislation, businesses should also focus on workforce investment and creating a supportive work environment for employees.

“In today’s business world, leaders must be willing to embrace change and take risks. It’s the only way to stay relevant and drive innovation,” says Herb Escher, President at Dale Carnegie – Blue Sky. “Prioritizing people & culture is not only an important value of our leadership strategy, but also the core of the services we provide in partnership with our clients and communities.”

Here are five tips for business owners and HR professionals to stay in compliance with the new pay transparency laws in New York State:

  1. Review job postings and ensure they provide the minimum and maximum annual salary or hourly range, including the job description if one already exists, and noting when the job will be physically performed in New York State or reports to a supervisor in New York State.
  2. Modernize and implement policies and procedures that promote pay transparency, equity, and fairness. This can include regular pay audits, equal pay policies, and performance-based pay structures that align with the company’s goals and values.
  3. Train your leadership team to detach cultural norms and emotional experiences from discussion about finances and money. Be the change the future workforce wants to see in the world.
  4. Consider HR operations, strategy, and consulting to help your business navigate change, crisis, and conflict while achieving its goals and values. Oftentimes, a perspective and participation of a third party can help move a needle that would otherwise stand still.
  5. Stay up-to-date with any changes in the law by following the State Labor Commission, and ensure compliance to avoid any penalties that may be imposed. And be sure you understand and comply with any additional requirements of the pay transparency laws in your local jurisdiction.

It’s important for businesses to take pay transparency seriously to stay in compliance with the law and strengthen the employee experience. Also, because it’s 2023 and now is the time to challenge the old and create the new, including the way we think and talk about money. By creating a supportive work environment and implementing changes, businesses can help close the pay gap while empowering, engaging and exciting employees.

Additional Resources and Tips for business owners and HR Professionals:

  • The New York State Labor Commission is expected to release further guidance and regulations in advance of the effective date, so businesses should keep an eye out for updates. 
  • The New York State Department of Labor website provides guidance on the new pay transparency legislation and offers resources to help businesses comply with the law.
  • The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides guidance and resources for small businesses, including those related to compliance with labor laws.
  • Professional HR consulting firms, such as Innovative Connections Inc. can help businesses navigate compliance with labor laws and provide guidance on best practices for managing pay transparency. 
  • Industry associations, such as the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), can provide guidance and resources to businesses in specific industries. 

About the author: My name is Jolinda, most people call me Jo. I’m the least traditional HR leader you’ll ever know. I was raised to (respectfully) challenge rules and blaze trails, spending most of my youth in places like the Dean’s office of my all-girls, parochial high school, questioning things like why the uniform policy would only allow for pink and red shades of nail polish. Or the time I had to meet with the Bishop of The Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, Arizona with a mission to break the mold and become the first girl altar server ever. That behavior transcended into a career in Public Relations and Leadership Development. Over the past 2 decades, I’ve landed in all the HR offices, for all the reasons, consistently driving solutions and persuading employers to prioritize people and profit simultaneously. I’m a disrupter and tech enthusiast, with a gift to align People Strategy with Business Strategy. Because when people feel prioritized, they get happy, and happy people make good money, and I love good money.