Amendments to Rhode Island’s Pay Equity Law enacted significant changes to its wage discrimination laws and employer obligations. Rhode Island employers with one or more employees in the state effective January 1, 2023, will now need to provide a wage range for any position, including open jobs, upon request. Similarly, an employer should provide the salary range for the position the applicant is applying for before discussing compensation.
The term “wage range” is stated as the range the employer anticipates paying for the position, including budgeted amounts. For current employees, the range can include applicable pay scales and what other employees in the same position have earned previously. A current employee may request the range for their position at any time during their employment. It should be noted that in the absence of a formal range request, employers must provide current employees with their salary range, at minimum, at the time of hire and when the employee moves into a new position.
Rhode Island has implemented severe penalties for non-compliance. Through June 30, 2026, employers will be granted an “affirmative defense” against claims if they demonstrate 1) they conducted a good faith wage audit within the two years preceding the commencement of a pay equity lawsuit and 2) corrected wage disparities discovered by the wage audit within 90 days of completion of the self-audit. The RI Department of Labor and Training has issued guidance and a pay equity spreadsheet for employers wishing to conduct such wage audits. Employers are encouraged to monitor the DLT website for a model notice to satisfy posting requirements.
Employer Next Steps
- Employers should review all current job descriptions, postings, and prospective internal transfers to determine the reasonable salary range for an applicant or employee in each scenario.
- Organizations should also consider the pay range for those currently in the roles as part of the process
- Conduct a voluntary pay equity audit and implement any appropriate adjustments in advance of the January 1st effective date of these laws
- If you would like information on how we can help creating pay bands/wage scales, please contact us
For almost twenty years, HR Knowledge has made it our mission to demystify the complex and daunting process of HR management. We do more than just provide the level of service and technology you’d expect from an industry leader. We combine an unparalleled passion for service with our decades of HR, payroll, and benefits experience to provide our clients with personalized and actionable advice that is second–to–none. From managed payroll to employee benefits to HR support, we can help your organization thrive, grow, and reduce operating costs—no matter what industry you serve. Whether you’re interested in our Full-Service solution or just need your employee handbook written, HR Knowledge can help you minimize risk while staying on top of compliance regulations. The bottom line? We’re not just another cloud-based technology company that also does HR, #WeAreHR. Get the scoop on how we can help you simplify HR.
This content is provided with the understanding that HR Knowledge is not rendering legal advice. While every effort is made to provide current information, the law changes regularly and laws may vary depending on the state or municipality. The material is made available for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice or your professional judgment. You should review applicable laws in your jurisdiction and consult experienced counsel for legal advice. If you have any questions regarding this content, please contact HR Knowledge at 508.339.1300 or email us.