Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

September 1, 2022

Transparent Wages: How to avoid running afoul of CT’s new salary disclosure law


An online job ad for an associate medical examiner with the state of Connecticut posted in July openly states the job pays between $230,000 and $300,098.

A recent job listing for a photographer and videographer for the Connecticut General Assembly, meanwhile, didn’t disclose the wage range.

New Haven Biz asked a contact person on the ad and found out via email five days later the job pays between $40,000 and $70,000, depending on experience.

State lawmakers in June 2021 approved a new law about wage disclosure requirements, “An Act Concerning the Disclosure of Salary Range for a Vacant Position,” and it went into effect on Oct. 1.

Navigating the wage disclosure law can be confusing for employers and job seekers alike. New Haven Biz recently reviewed job listings for various industries in Connecticut, from health care to manufacturing to law firms to journalism. Many employers are posting the wage range in job ads. Others aren’t, so candidates have to ask to get the information.

Maura Mastrony

Maura Mastrony, a New Haven-based attorney and shareholder at employment law firm Littler, said many employers typically prefer to avoid putting the wage range directly in a job listing and would rather inform candidates directly.

“(In a job ad) it’s out there for all to see, including current employees and your competition,” Mastrony said. “If the competition knows what you are paying, they could use that information to pay a little bit more.”

Morale can also be impacted — as employees may wish to keep their salaries private, or discrepancies can lead to resentment.

“If current employees aren’t making as much, there is the potential for some problems,” Mastrony said.

However, Mastrony notes that some employers want to mitigate any possible risk of future complaints — and they are putting the wage range directly in job listings.

It’s common sense that job seekers typically want to know what a job pays upfront. New Haven Biz recently polled readers if they prefer that companies include wage information in job listings. As of press time, 100% had responded with “yes.”

As any job seeker knows, going through the lengthy process of applying for a job, and even interviewing with a company, only to find out later that the position doesn’t pay enough can be a waste of time.

The time issue can impact employers also. Employers may find a great candidate and go through multiple interviews, only to have the person drop out of the process after learning the amount being offered.

What’s in the law?

Under the nearly one-year-old law, employers must provide an applicant with the wage range when the applicant requests the information, or prior to or at the time the applicant is made an offer. The information must also be provided when an employee is hired, their position changes, or if the employee requests it.

The law prohibits discrimination in compensation based on sex — workers of the opposite sex should be making similar amounts for performing the same duties.

If they aren’t, employers must be prepared to explain why — such as if it is due to factors such as seniority, production rates, education, credentials or experience.

Women still trail behind men on salary. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2020, full-time female workers’ pay was 82 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts.

Margaret “Peggy” Strange

Margaret “Peggy” Strange, a principal with the law firm Jackson Lewis in Hartford who focuses on labor and employment law, said the reason laws like this are being enacted is to make sure employers are paying employees similarly for comparable positions.

Another reason is to ensure employers are not discriminating against employees based on gender, race or any other protected classification, she said.

The stakes are potentially high for employers who don’t comply with the wage range disclosure law. Employers who violate it potentially face civil action, compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorney fees and costs.

Individuals have up to two years after a violation to bring an action. Job seekers who believe an employer violated the rules can also lodge complaints with the state Department of Labor, which can impose penalties.

Attorneys we surveyed as of late August were unaware of any litigation or claims arising yet in relation to the state’s wage disclosure law, and they had not yet seen any in their practices.

The Wage and Workplace Standards Division at the state Department of Labor reported that as of late August, there were no complaints about violations of the wage disclosure law, according to department spokeswoman Juliet Manalan.

Ensuring compliance

Nick Zaino, a partner with law firm Carmody, Torrance, Sandak & Hennessey, who is principally based in Waterbury, said employers can comply with the law multiple ways.

One is to put the wage range right in the job posting, he said. Some online postings have a place for applicants to click to get more information about the wage range.

“The other way to deal with it is to put it in the offer letter,” Zaino said.

Nick Zaino

According to Zaino, some employers have decided to put the information directly in job postings because they have locations around the country.

Some states are passing legislation similar to what Connecticut has, while others are more stringent. Colorado, for example, requires all job postings to include the hourly or salary compensation.

Some Connecticut employers that also operate in other states are putting the wage information in all of their postings to be consistent, he noted.

Many employers prefer not to put it in the job posting, and put it in an offer letter, which Zaino said “is fine.”

Employers can help avoid running afoul of the law by doing an honest self-assessment, according to Strange.

“What I would say to employers is — take a big step back, and look at how you pay in your workplace,” Strange said. “Determine — do you have any pay equity issues overall? That’s probably your biggest concern.”

She suggested evaluating if you have jobs where men are being paid more than women for performing the same duties. Do the same self-assessment when it comes to other groups in your workplace, Strange advises.

“That’s what these laws are trying to get at — to have employers look and see what they are paying for the position, and if it is fair for everybody,” Strange said.

Lizz Acee, a partner at law firm Barclay Damon, said her firm recommends a pay equity audit and advises employers to have formal job descriptions in place for their workers, along with salary ranges for each job.

Competition and challenges

Employers are encountering challenges with the new law, legal experts said. Those challenges include competition with other employers when trying to attract talent, and negotiating a salary they want to pay.

Lizz Acee

“This (law) is a fairly new concept,” Strange said. “I think employers are starting to try to figure out how to deal with it. What companies are struggling with is what does ‘wage range’ mean?”

Employers may have the gut instinct to put out broad wage information, Strange noted.

“The problem with that is — everyone you want to hire is going to want the highest of that range,” Strange said.

If candidates see an impressive, narrowly-defined wage range, they’ll be more likely to apply, she added.

“Employers can use this law to get a competitive edge,” Strange said.

Many Connecticut employers are looking at what their competitors are doing with their job postings when fashioning their own.

According to Zaino, the main reason employers cite for not posting wage ranges directly in job listings is for “competitive reasons."

So, is the wage disclosure law working the way lawmakers hoped?

According to Zaino, it is hard to know, and probably too early to tell.

“It has definitely forced employers to think about it,” Zaino said. “And it is definitely requiring employers to revisit their compensation methodologies and strategies.”

Sign up for Enews


Order a PDF