Yesterday, Governor Lamont signed House Bill 6380 (Public Act 21-30), which adds another layer of complexity for employers engaged in hiring and also amends the state’s equal pay laws.
Here’s what employers need to know for the new law that goes into effect October 1, 2021 for wage ranges:
- First, the new law prohibits employers from failing or refusing to provide a job applicant with the “wage range” of the position for which the applicant is applying.
- What’s a “wage range”? “It means the range of wages an employer anticipates
relying on when setting wages for a position, and may include reference to any applicable pay scale, previously determined range of wages for the position, actual range of wages for those employees currently holding comparable positions or the employer’s budgeted amount for the position.”
- Employers must provide the wage range before or when offering the applicant the job, or when the applicant requests it during the application process — whichever is earlier.
- But it’s not just for applicants. The new law prohibits employers from failing or refusing to provide their employees with their wage ranges, when hired, when their position changes, or upon the employee’s first request for a wage range.
- Job applicants and employees can bring a lawsuit for violations with a two year statute of limitations. Notably, employers can be liable for compensatory and punitive damages, as well as attorneys fees.
These changes will no doubt make hiring more complex. Employers will have to consider when to provide salary ranges and in what level of detail — even when it may not know exactly what it wants to do.
The new law also amends the state’s equal pay laws also on October 1, 2021.
Under current law, an employee alleging pay discrimination must prove that the employer pays employees of one sex a lower wage than employees of the opposite sex for equal work that requires equal skill, effort and responsibility under similar working conditions.
The new law now requires employees to prove the employer pays employees of one sex a lower wage for comparable work when viewed as a composite of skill, effort and responsibility under similar working conditions.
A subtle change to be sure but it lessens the burden to show something is “equal”.
Employers faced with such claims have had several defenses including that it is a differential system based upon a bona fide factor other than sex, such as education, training or experience.
The new law also specifies that these other factors may also include credentials, skill and geographic location. That broadens the defenses for employers.
These claims must still be brought to the labor commissioner and it is only when the complaint is not investigated that the employee may bring an action in court.
It’s far too early to tell what the impact of these changes will actually be. Predictions of changes after the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act were overblown — as I predicted in my post on “Why the Hype on the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is Overblown” in 2009.
I wouldn’t go so far as to use that same hyperbole here but the changes here — beyond the administrative hassles of providing “wage ranges — are modest.