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New York's pay transparency laws go into effect

 A judges gavel.
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The implementation of the pay transparency laws may be a step towards closing the gender wage gap.

On Sunday, New York became the fourth state in the nation to require employers to include pay rates in all public job postings.

Jared Cook, a Rochester-based attorney who specializes in federal and state labor and employment, said the new, statewide law on pay transparency aims to narrow historic pay inequities.

"The idea is that as it becomes more common knowledge, what these jobs pay, and everybody knows what everybody's paying for these jobs, then it'll be a lot harder to get away with paying women or people of color less than paying men or white folks [who] do the exact same work," said Cook. 

According to a 2021 report from the New York Department of Labor, white women in the state earned 88 cents for every dollar men earned. For Black and Hispanic women, it was 68 cents than 63 cents, respectively.

The report also calculated that over a 40-year career, those figures translate into diminished lifetime earnings ranging respectively from $350,000 to more than $1 million. The state agency further concluded that "closing the gender wage gap would also lower women’s poverty rates," which in 2021 were just under 15% in New York.

Cook said whether the new pay transparency law will effectively close such gaps remains to be seen. In the short term, however, it should bring a bump in applicants to employers who already offer competitive rates, and potentially hurt those who pay below market wages and salaries.

"But I imagine that, over time," said Cook, "you'll probably see employers coalescing around a certain range of pays for different jobs that may be a bit narrower than before."

The attorney says the new pay transparency law applies to all work that is physically done in the state, or that reports to a supervisor in New York, if done remotely.

Natasha Senjanovic teaches radio broadcasting at the Newhouse School while overseeing student journalists at WAER and creating original reporting for the station. She can also be heard hosting All Things Considered some weekday afternoons.