Pay transparency law pushed to Nov. 1

Businesses will be required to post salaries on job listings starting in November.

A recent City Council vote to delay the pay transparency law from going into effect has bought some businesses more time to prepare while leaving applicants dismayed that salaries for many positions will remain unknown.

Frank Fredericks runs a small digital agency out of Astoria that handles social media marketing, customer acquisition and marketing and in recent years has been on both sides of the hiring process.

He hires independent contractors, who are expected to benefit from the new law, but was also recently hired for a full-time role at a large consulting company.

It is frustrating, Fredericks said, to spend hours putting together a resume and cover letter and go through rounds of interviews only to find out that one cannot afford the job, which also wastes time for the business owner.

Starting on Nov. 1, employers with four or more employees will be required to post the maximum and minimum salary for a role. The rule, known as Local Law 32, was supposed to take effect this month but the date was pushed back after businesses raised concerns.

Fredericks said his biggest criticism about the new law is the delay.

“I would say, ‘Just pass the thing,’ and put the pressure on them to implement it as soon as they can,” he said.

Adding pay to job postings, Fredericks said, can mitigate hiring biases, including around race and gender. He also sees it as one less liability, reducing the chance of being accused of bias.

The Wage Transparency Law makes it an “unlawful discriminatory practice” for any employers to post opportunities without stating the minimum and maximum hourly wage or salary. The city Commission on Human Rights will investigate any complaints filed.

Fredericks says it is just a matter of knowing the budget ahead of time and typing the salary into the posting.

Tom Grech is president and CEO of the Queens Chamber of Commerce and he says it is more complicated than that for businesses.

“Small businesses, now more than ever, are burdened with all kinds of administrative tasks,” he said. “When you don’t have an in-house HR department, legal department or even an accounting staff, it makes it just all the more difficult to do business.”

Grech signed on to a letter with the presidents of the other boroughs’ chambers of commerce and the Partnership for New York City in early April proposing amendments to the law and calling for it to be pushed back.

“It does push it further down the road, but we don’t think that rules or laws like this or regulations make much sense for any kind of small business,” Grech said.

In addition to the six-month delay, the Council amended the law, which was introduced by Councilwoman Nantasha Williams (D-St. Albans), to give businesses 30 days to fix any violations before being fined and it added hourly wage jobs, too.

Right now, Grech said, red tape should be cut for businesses and the Queens Chamber on Commerce will continue educating on the rules coming out of the state and the city.

Arturo Enamorado is an adjunct professor of sociology and history at St. John’s University and Connecticut College and an adjunct union representative for the American Association of University Professors.

Traveling from Jamaica, where he lives and was raised, to Connecticut, he teaches day and night classes at the two universities but is leaving St. John’s due to the employment terms. If the law was in effect three years ago, he says it would have helped his situation there.

“We really don’t know what the pay structure is until we’re offered a contract,” Enamorado said. “And sometimes the way that legally comes about is, in the case of St John’s, it’s two weeks before the start of semester.”

The limited economic outlook that provides, he said, has made him doubt if he can afford to live in the city any longer.

“I can’t find a job that I’m certain is going to give me security,” he said. “Just having that minimum would be so fantastic.”

It is about transparency, Enamorado added. “It makes a difference in if I am going to love my job or have to take a job because I have nothing else. My job is to teach the next generation and I would love to have some level of respect toward that,” he said.

“I’m not asking for $100,000 but at least let me know so that I can plan for my future.”

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