Washington Equal Pay Opportunity Act

Equal Pay and Opportunities Act prohibits gender pay discrimination and promotes fairness among workers by addressing business practices that contribute to income disparities between genders. More information can be found on the Washington website.

Which Employers Does This Law Apply To? 

Portions of the Equal Pay and Opportunities Act (EPOA) apply to employers with one or more employees. The portion of the law regarding pay transparency in job postings applies to employers with 15 or more employees where the employer engages in “any business, industry, profession, or activity in Washington” for job postings “that recruit Washington based employees.” The 15-employee threshold “includes employees that do not have a physical presence in Washington if the employer has one or more Washington-based employeesOR if the employer recruits for a job that could be filled by a Washington-based employee. Employers do not need to disclose wage and salary ranges for jobs that will be performed entirely outside of Washington, even if the job posting reaches applicants who would fill the position as a Washington-based employee. 

What do employers need to do?

Employers in the state of Washington should review their existing policies and practices. The law prohibits any gender-based discrimination in providing compensation between employees who are "similarly employed". Businesses will need to justify pay differences based on "bona fide job-related factors" that are unrelated to gender such as seniority, differences in education, and/or work performance. Additionally, employers must avoid limiting or providing advancement opportunities based on gender.

EPOA also includes a number of pay transparency requirements. Employers cannot have any prohibitions on wage discussions among employees and cannot take adverse action against employees who discuss wages, file a complaint, or exercise other protected right under the Law. EPOA also prohibits employers from asking for wage or salary history from applicants.

Required information in job postings

Employers must  include the following information in job postings:

  • Wage scale or salary range information that extends from the lowest to the highest pay amount established by the employer prior to publishing the job posting
  • Employers must create a salary range or wage scale prior to posting if it does not already exist for the open position
  • General description of all benefits, including:
    • Health care benefits 
    • Retirement plans 
    • Paid time off

More information can be found in our blog about the new requirements.

Our consulting service

We can help your organization determine pay equity. We will group comparison employees who perform "comparable work" and compare base pay rates by gender utilizing the "bona fide" factors recognized under the Act.

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