• How pay transparency laws can promote fair wages in health care


    For many years, U.S. employers have benefited from a lack of transparency about wages that gives workers less leverage in salary negotiations and fuels longstanding pay inequality based on gender, race, and other socioeconomic factors. This is true for doctors as well as workers in other industries. But the COVID-19 pandemic increased the momentum for pay transparency laws, which can be powerful tools for promoting fair compensation. When workers have access to compensation data, they can hold employers accountable for pay equity, compelling them to close wage gaps or risk losing employees.

    Take the AAFP Salary Survey

    The AAFP is currently building a compensation benchmarking tool. Using information in this tool, members will have greater power to negotiate with employers. You can help fuel the data by taking a brief, anonymous survey about your compensation and work experience before Nov. 14, 2023.

    Current laws and regulations

    There is currently no nationwide law requiring employers to disclose pay information (though there is a federal law that ensures workers have the right to discuss their pay with each other, subject to certain limitations). Many cities and states have enacted their own pay transparency laws. The laws vary in scope and depth, but they generally require an employer to disclose a salary range at some point during the hiring process. Some laws require employers to give the information only if asked for it.

    The number of locations passing pay transparency legislation is growing and already includes the following:


    • California
    • Colorado
    • Connecticut
    • Maryland
    • Nevada
    • New York
    • Rhode Island
    • Washington


    • Cincinnati
    • Ithaca, N.Y.
    • Jersey City, N.J.
    • New York
    • Toledo, Ohio


    • Westchester County, N.Y.

    Details vary, so it is important for doctors to know the laws in the place where they will be practicing. Some states, like New York, may have a broad pay transparency law in place, while cities or counties within that state have more detailed requirements. When job searching, check laws for the most specific location so you know whether an employer must give you a salary range and, if so, at what point in the hiring process they must do so.


    Evan Winter is a staff writer at Resolve, an AAFP Member Advantage partner. Resolve reviews and negotiates physician employment contracts and maintains a proprietary, anonymous dataset of individual salaries, signing bonuses, and more. Limited access to this data is available for free online or expanded access is available for a fee. AAFP members can use code AAFP10 for a 10% discount on Resolve services.

    Posted on Oct. 24, 2023 by FPM Editors

    Disclaimer: The opinions and views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the opinions and views of the American Academy of Family Physicians. This blog is not intended to provide medical, financial, or legal advice. All comments are moderated and will be removed if they violate our Terms of Use.