Some companies are opting for a lame loophole under New York's new pay transparency law

Some companies are opting for a lame loophole under New York’s new pay transparency law

Some New York companies are posting pay scales that look a little dodgy as the new pay transparency law takes effect.

Would you like to apply for a job with an advertised salary cap of $2 million? What about a job with a potential base salary of $0.00? What if I told you that apparently it’s the same job.

That’s right, Citi Bank is hiring a ‘customer service agent’ based in New York, New York and for at least a few hours on Tuesday the role was advertised as completely unpaid or paid enough to instantly catapult themselves into the mythical one percent. Based on the list, it was impossible to know.

Screenshot of a job posting

The list has since been updated, but even with the new numbers, something isn’t quite right. To perform the same job, under the same description, in the same city, two different people could apparently be paid $59,340 and $149,320 respectively.

Tuesday, New York City long-awaited pay transparency law entered into force. The legislation, officially titled “Salary Transparency in Job Postings,” requires companies to post a “good faith salary scale” with any job postings. Where good faith means “the salary range that the employer honestly believes at the time of posting the job offer that he is willing to pay the successful candidate(s)”. The rule applies equally to internal publications and public digital platforms like LinkedIn and Indeed.

Many companies started including pay scales in their job postings before the official law came into force. Yet others have taken a…different approach. Citigroup was just one of many employers that apparently broadened their interpretations of “good faith.”

As freelance travel journalist Victoria Walker first underline on Twitter, many New York-based job postings now come with absurdly broad salary ranges included in the postings. A list for a technical journalist opening at the New York Post offers between $50,000 and almost 3 times that amount. Another one general assignment role also at the NY Post, advertising pays between $15/hour and $125,000/year.

Likewise, if you want to be a photo editor at Discovery Inc., you could be paid between $67,991 and $126,269. A list of the Wall Street Journal included a range of $140,000 to $450,000. A Barron’s reporter could win $50,000 or $180,000.

Outside of journalism, other businesses also seem to be playing fast with the new requirement. A front desk clerk in a dental office in Brooklyn could bring in $45,000, nearly double that. A scheduler in a surgery center could start at $36,980, or 66% more than that. A personal shopper at Bloomingdales could earn between $48,672 and $84,864. You had the idea.

For all these jobs, there is lucky that these advertised ranges truly reflect the compensation range of current employees in these positions. And if so, there’s clearly parity issues at stake. But that’s a pretty generous take on corporate shenanigans.

Then there are some lists that have made no attempt to comply with the law at all. Like this one from Primordial who show no salary rangeeven if it was posted within the last 24 hours.

The value of pay transparency is that job applicants can make informed decisions about where to focus their attention and that companies are accountable to public opinion and their employees. In addition, pay transparency has the potential to bring about wider positive change, like discounts in gender and racial pay gaps. The new law is unquestionably a good thing for workers and job seekers. But if companies don’t take it seriously, we all lose— businesses included.

If you come across a job posting advertising a suspicious lineup, you can file a complaint with the New York Commission on Human Rights by calling (212) 416-0197 or visiting Businesses that violate the new law are subject to city fines and other penalties.

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