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A woman speaks into a microphone and is seated next to a woman and man who are also sitting in front of microphones. The setting is the Colorado Capitol building at the Senate Business, Labor, and Technology committee hearing.

WFCO’s Testimony to Ensure Equal Pay for Equal Work

// February 23, 2023

Three key changes to the 2019 Equal Pay for Equal Work Act will ensure equal pay

This testimony was delivered on February 21, 2023 to the Colorado Senate Business, Labor, & Technology Committee. 

Good afternoon. I am Louise Myrland, vice president of programs at The Women’s Foundation of Colorado. Thank you, Mister Chair and committee members, for the opportunity to share our support for this bill. Senators Danielson and Buckner, thank you for your leadership for pay equity.

The Women’s Foundation of Colorado is a statewide community foundation that expands pathways to economic security for women of every background and identity. There are countless barriers that prevent women from advancing economically, including persistent pay gaps. In 2021, women working full-time, year-round in Colorado were paid only 83 percent of what men earned and the gaps are wider for women of color.

Our state’s 2019 Equal Pay for Equal Work Act requires employers to pay equally and be transparent about pay and promotional opportunities. Colorado started a national trend – now, one in four workers nationwide is covered by pay transparency laws.

SB23-105 will make three key changes to ensure equal pay for equal work:

  • First, it will require the Department of Labor and Employment to investigate pay inequities and enforce the equal pay requirements.
  • Without changing the two-year statute of limitations, it will extend the backpay period to up to six years so that someone underpaid that long can recoup the difference between what they were paid and what they should have been paid.
  • SB23-105 also updates the pay transparency requirements.

Colorado’s current equal pay law requires employers to notify all employees about every opportunity for promotion. This bill differentiates between:

  • Changes to an employee’s job, through career development or career progression, which are defined in the bill, and removes notification requirements for them versus job or promotional opportunities with a vacancy to be filled, of which employees still must be notified.

Transparency requirements for employees simplified through proposed bill

Employers will no longer need to notify employees when another employee’s job duties, title, or pay are changed to reflect their growth in the role, in a career development. Similarly, when an employee moves up from one position to another based on defined metrics within a career progression, employers will no longer need to notify employees.

When there is a vacancy to be filled with a job opportunity or promotional opportunity, employers would still be required to notify all their employees, consistent with current law.

When employers are considering more than one candidate for a job or promotional opportunity, employees must have at least five business days to apply and the applicants must be considered in a competitive process.

Then, once a selected candidate begins, employers will let employees who will be working with them know their name, new title and former title, and how to demonstrate interest in similar opportunities. This basic information can be shared in a congratulatory email, an announcement at a team meeting, on the company intranet, or other ways that work for the employer.

These changes will streamline advancement pathways and promote transparency, which closes gender and racial pay gaps and benefits both workers and employers with higher productivity, better workplace culture and boosts to the bottom line.

Please vote yes on SB23-105. Thank you!

It’s not too late to ask your senator to ensure equal pay for equal work

SB23-105 will be considered again in the Senate Business, Labor, & Technology committee on February 28, 2023. It’s not too late to call your senator to encourage them to vote yes. To find out if any of these committee members are your legislator, use this application to enter your address and then use the tools on our civic engagement page to communicate your position.

Sign up for next Advocating for Impact training on April 6 to support this bill and other 2023 policy priorities.

Photo (left to right): Louise Myrland, The Women’s Foundation of Colorado; Kaitlin Altone, 9to5 Colorado; Kris Garcia, 9to5 Colorado. 

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