Changes to Washington’s Equal Pay and Opportunities Act

Tumwater – Changes to Washington’s Equal Pay and Opportunities Act will add additional protections for employees and job applicants. The updated law that takes effect on July 28 bars employers from requesting a job applicant’s wage or salary history, except under certain circumstances.

The law also makes it illegal, in most cases, for employers to request wage or salary history from a previous employer before offering an applicant a job and negotiating salary.

Washington is the third West Coast state to pass legislation prohibiting such inquiries, joining California and Oregon.

“Washington is consistently ranked a top state to work and to do business,” Governor Jay Inslee said. “Our commitment to ensuring prosperity is shared by everyone is key to that success. Yet, for too long, wage disparities have continued between individuals doing equal work. The protections established in this law are the next step toward finally leveling the playing field.”

Equal pay for equal work

Under the changes, current employees who are offered an internal transfer, a new position or a promotion must be shown the new job’s wage scale or salary range if they request it.

If no wage scale or salary range exists, the employer must show the employee “the minimum wage or salary expectation” that was set before the job was posted or a transfer or promotion was offered.

Employers must also show job applicants the minimum wage or salary of the position they are applying for if they request it after being offered the position.

The ban on requesting salary history applies to all Washington employers, regardless of size. The requirement to disclose salary information to certain applicants and employees applies only to Washington employers with 15 or more workers.

See full article on Washington State Department of Labor & Industries: http://lni.wa.gov/News/2019/pr190725a.asp

For media information: Tim Church, 360-902-5673