Rhode Island Enacts Pay Equity Law

Effective January 1, 2023, Rhode Island's pay equity law takes effect.

The law broadens pay discrimination protections beyond sex to include:

  • Race,
  • Color,
  • Religion,
  • Sexual orientation,
  • Gender identity or expression,
  • Disability,
  • Age, and
  • National origin.

An employer may not pay its employees less than the rate paid to employees of another protected class for comparable work unless it can justify the wage differential using specified factors.

The law also contains wage disclosure protections and anti-retaliation provisions, bans salary history inquiries and requires employers to provide applicants and employees with pay ranges for the positions they apply for or hold.

An employer that completes a qualifying self-evaluation of its pay practices and eliminates any unlawful pay differentials it identifies may have an affirmative defense against liability under the law.

+2021 Bill Text RI H.B. 5261.