The Colorado Senate on Friday approved legislation to strengthen Colorado’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, which is already law in the state.
Senate Bill 23-105 was with the House as of Friday and would require the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) to accept and mediate complaints, provide legal resources concerning alleged wage inequality, and to promulgate rules to further prevent wage discrimination.
The department is currently only allowed to do so now. The new bill would require the department to accept them and would provide resources and staffing to make that possible.
The Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, which went into effect in January of 2021, requires companies to post all job listings and list a salary level for positions to attract diverse applicants. Also, workers, under the law, can file discrimination lawsuits when opposite-sex colleagues earn a higher salary for the same work.
“Nobody should be paid less than their peers for doing the same work – but for too many women in Colorado that is still the case,” Sen. Jessie Danielson (D-Wheatridge), who co-sponsored the bill, said. “We fought to address this inequity through the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, and this bill will build on that success. SB 105 is a concrete step we can take, right now, to address the wage gap between men and women, and 1 am excited to see this bill move forward.”
Additionally, SB23-105 requires CDLE to investigate complaints or other leads concerning wage inequality, and to address the situation if the complaint is found to be valid. The bill also requires employers to follow specific guidelines for job postings.
Those opposed to the bill worry what it would do to out-ofstate remote workers. For instance, someone from Colorado might be less likely to get a job based in a state that has looser equal wage laws.
Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce wrote that SB23-105 “falls short of addressing many functional gaps.”
“We are seriously concerned that the additional requirements created in this bill are so operationally cumbersome, that ambiguity will be the only way to achieve compliance,” said the chambers summary. “’This reality, which has already proven itself in the first Equal Pay law, is the worst of both worlds — meaningless compliance. We oppose SB23-105 because it does not fix all of the mistakes of the past, rather it makes new mistakes all its own.”