The Smarter Startup

Avoid Fines: The Pay Transparency Checklist

Reference this handy checklist to understand pay transparency compliance requirements and avoid fines at your startup.

Our Pay Transparency Checklist for Startups

STEP 1: Compensation Philosophy

Compensation Philosophy

GOAL: Communicate “Why our company pays what it does”

  • How pay ranges differ by title
  • How pay ranges differ by geography
  • How the company decides what is paid within a salary range
  • How pay changes over time
  • How and why pay is different from company to company

Implement Compensation Bands

  • Develop bands based on compensation philosophy for current and future use

Gap Analysis

  • Ensure current employees are paid in line with compensation philosophy and salary bands

STEP 2: Operational Readiness


  • Decide what is shown in job posting; full or part range, range for some or all locations
  • Determine how to provide access to bands to recruiters, hiring managers and people supervisors
  • Formalize process for salary negotiation; what positions in range are open to negotiation, how exceptions are handled

Employee Sharing

  • Who can request; only states that require transparency, or all
  • What is shared; own bands, adjacent bands, team’s bands, all bands
  • When this will be shared; proactive or upon request
  • Who will share the bands; People Partner or Manager

STEP 3: Communication

People and Talent Training

  • What is required legally
  • Approach to pay transparency
  • Explaining compensation to candidates and employees
  • Rules and processes

Manager Training

  • How company decides pay
  • Pay transparency during hiring process
  • Pay transparency internally

All Company (Add to Intranet/Company Wiki)

  • How Company determines pay
  • How Company determines during hiring process
  • How Company determines over time

Pay Transparency Laws Overview

Table showing pay transparency laws by state

Contact Burkland’s People Operations team for additional help with pay transparency and other HR support.