It’s a job search cliché: “Competitive pay.” If you’ve looked for a job in the past five years, you’ve definitely seen it or its cousin “salary commensurate with experience” with no real figure listed. That could be ending in Albany.

Albany County government has proposed a new amendment requiring minimum and maximum hourly pay and salary range be included in job listings within county lines. This isn’t groundbreaking ethics legislation; Ithaca’s Tompkins County and New York City have already passed similar human rights laws. The Capital Region should catch up in ending antiquated, unnecessary monetary guessing games that waste the time of businesses and job-seekers.

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For those wanting employment, the job interview process is already exhausting enough without having to write a cover letter just to pull the handle on a slot machine based on assumptions. Nebulous language or straight up refusal to list wages limits the applicant’s negotiating power from square one.

One thing the proposed amendment gets wrong is forcing inclusion of a maximum pay cap. Nobody has ever turned down a job because it paid more than they need, and if a company needs to pay the perfect candidate more, they should have the freedom to do that. It’s right for the business and the employee.

Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash
Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash

As for the employers, an Albany Business Review article interviewed local business owners whose opinions ranged from “sure, why not?” to “what a horrible thing for business owners’ rights.” A local restaurant owner in the ABR article claims some employees might become jealous over another, higher paid employee in the same role with more experience. That could be, but it sounds like this boss is just afraid of having a pay talk with their employee.

Requiring a posted minimum protects workers and forces the transparency a free market demands. Bottom line: businesses with truly “competitive pay” won’t have anything to worry about.

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