It's the law

Salary transparency will soon be mandatory in New York City

In Short

May 15th feels far away, but a new law taking effect that day will impact your NYC organization's culture. Leaders have the opportunity to be proactive in leading the change by acting quickly.

Mandated salary transparency on job descriptions is coming to New York City. With as many as 4,000 Jewish organizations, synagogues and schools in the NYC area, this represents a significant shift in culture for tens of thousands of employees. 

Salary transparency has been done in earnest in the Jewish community since 2018. That’s when I entered the Gender Equity in Hiring Project‘s first cohort of Gender Equity advocates in summer 2018. Twenty of us sat around the table learning best practices from the two co-founders, Dr. Sara Shapiro-Plevan and Rabbi Rebecca Sirbu. We cautiously discussed the pros and cons of why a salary range closes the gender salary gap and how to get leadership invested at the dozen Jewish organizations represented around the table. With nine cohorts now completed, many organizations shifted their practice. Salary transparency on job postings started appearing in different forms – hourly wage amounts, annual salary ranges, exact numbers – along with explanations of benefits that added to an employee’s overall package. The shift was in motion, but the tipping point for all organizations will be May 15, 2022. 

The 108 organizations that have gone through GEiHP’s program have started to do the work to ensure that salary transparency is part of their culture. Fueled by research around how salary transparency narrows the gender pay gap and helps keep employees more satisfied in their role, 135 trainees returned to their organization to raise the bar in their hiring practices. 

That leaves many organizations – including some of the largest in our community – reactive to the upcoming law with a small window to make the change. Although transparency will be mandated, there is still time; here are updates your organization can make to help ready your staff and improve your culture:

1) Band salaries first. Examine internal salaries before you have to reveal them externally. Every current staff member will have a chance to see what an incoming staff member makes. Now is the time to look at the range of pay for each type of position. The HR term for this is banding. Leading Edge has a fantastic guide to organizing, adjusting and standardizing your banding. 

2) Model transparency. Inform your staff first – they are your most trusted allies. No one on your staff should be surprised that this transition is happening. By keeping your staff informed, you are giving them the kavod they deserve by modeling transparency right off the bat. You control the message that you send. Empower the staff within the organization. The salaries are one more piece of information you are giving a candidate about who you are and your organizational values; they are a useful tool for getting candidates who are more likely to say yes to an offer of hire.

3) Tie salary range to qualifications. Understanding what qualifications are “Need to Have” vs. “Nice to Have” will help you place candidates within the salary range. Here are some questions that you may want to ask yourself before entering the interview process: What makes someone qualified to receive the floor or ceiling of a range? Why might some jobs have a small range and others a large range? Why may some jobs have a non-negotiable number? It is likely that candidates and existing staff are asking these questions as well. An organization with a healthy salary-setting practice is able to articulate these answers internally and externally. 

4) Define non-monetary benefits. While the salary is the only piece of transparency being mandated on May 15th, an employee’s overall package may include  many non-monetary benefits that amount to significant savings, including health coverage (employer’s contribution), retirement match, life insurance, even possible bonuses. Presenting this information as part of an offer will help candidates appreciate an organization’s overall benefits – not just an amount in their paycheck. This is also a best practice for your employees to receive every year!

5) Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Several Jewish organizations are actively partnering with other organizations to transition cultures into this new era of transparency, like GEiHP with their Salary Transparency Toolkit and Leading Edge, who will create a customized approach that meets your organization’s needs. There are also many informational resources from the city, the Society for Human Resource Management and larger nonprofit coalitions easily available online and often free.

Jessica Rothbart is an advisory board member for the Gender Equity in Hiring Project and an HR consultant. JessicaLRothbart@gmail.com

May 15th is right around the corner. As you begin to include mandated salary transparency on your agency’s job descriptions, these five tools will help you ensure a smooth transition. You can sign up for the 10th cohort of Gender Equity Advocates starting summer 2022 and attend a GEiHP-hosted symposium on Salary/Pay Transparency in the Jewish Community Monday, March 14 at 9am PT/12pm ET marking two months before the NYC pay transparency law goes Into effect. Registration is here