Pay Transparency in Publicly Advertised Job Opportunities
British Columbia has issued supplementary guidance on the requirements in section 2 of the Pay Transparency Act (the “Act”).
These requirements come into effect on Wednesday, November 1, 2023, and require all employers who publicly advertise a specific job opportunity to specify either the expected wage or salary, or the expected range thereof, as well as any other prescribed information.
What Information Needs to be Included?
The B.C. government has clarified that the following examples will meet the section 2 requirements for pay transparency under the Act:
- Posting that a job has an expected wage of $20 per hour;
- Posting that a job has an expected wage range of $20 - $30 per hour;
- Posting that a job has an expected salary $40,000 per year; and
- Posting that a job has an expected salary range $40,000 - $60,000 per year.
If an employer chooses to specify an expected wage or salary range, then they are not entitled to include an unspecified minimum or maximum amount. For example, employers cannot write that a job has an expected wage range of “$20 per hour and up”, or “up to $50 per hour” in a publicly advertised job posting. However, writing “$20-$30 per hour” will meet the requirements of the Act.
Wage or salary information that is included in a publicly advertised job opportunity should reflect the employer’s reasonable expectation of pay for the job at the time of posting. The B.C. government has also signaled it may in the future provide further guidance or introduce regulations addressing how large of a range may be advertised by an employer while still meeting the requirements of the Act.
Employers are not required to include information regarding bonus pay, overtime pay, tips, or benefits in publicly advertised job opportunities. Of course, employers may voluntarily include this or other information, if desired. It is unclear at this time if commissions need to be included, but, considering that the definition of “pay” at section 1 of the Act includes commissions and section 2 of the Act only stipulates the communication of salary or wage, commissions likely do not have to be included if the employer chooses not to.
The Act requires that if a specific employment opportunity is publicly advertised, then pay information must be included with other publicly available information. This requirement applies to jobs that are publicly advertised directly by employers and by third parties on job search websites, job boards and other recruitment platforms.
Additionally, the requirement applies to jobs that are advertised in other jurisdictions so long as the position is open to B.C. residents and may be filled by someone living in B.C., either in-person or remotely.
General “help wanted” posters that do not advertise a specific opportunity and general recruitment campaigns that do not mention specific job opportunities are not captured by the requirement. Similarly, if a job is not posted publicly, then employers are not required to include pay information. It is unclear at this time what may constitute a job that is not posted publicly under the Act, but we believe some examples may include:
- internal job postings that are advertised only to employees within the organization, or
- jobs that are posted within a members-only association or group that are not accessible by the public.
Even so, employers should do so with caution, as the B.C. government has not explicitly provided that the above examples constitute jobs that are not publicly posted.
The B.C. Government has also advised that the requirement to include salary or wage information in publicly advertised job postings does not prevent job applicants from requesting, or employers from agreeing to provide, a higher wage or salary than the amount provided in a job advertisement. The B.C. government has been silent as to whether this means that employers are prohibited from offering to pay an employee less than what they posted in a public job advertisement under any circumstances, but, based on the purpose of the Act and on the guidelines, we believe that employers are prohibited from doing so.
If an employer publicly advertises a job, and, in the course of searching for a suitable candidate, finds an applicant who does not meet the requirements for the advertised job or who loses out to another candidate, but who would be a good fit for another position, then the employer may be permitted to offer that applicant a different job that pays less. If an employer is interested in doing this, they should make it clear that the applicant is being offered, and hired into, a different job than what was originally advertised in the public job advertisement.