May 1, 2019
Denver, CO – The Colorado State Senate voted 23-to-12 to concur with House Amendments to SB19-085, the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, a bill sponsored by Senators Jessie Danielson (D-Wheat Ridge) and Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood) that would prevent gender-based pay disparities and give every Coloradan a fair shot at economic security. The bill then repassed the Senate by a vote of 21-to-14.
“Coloradans demanded we pass the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, and after years of hard work, we have finally done it,” said Senator Danielson. “Equal pay will help more Coloradans achieve financial security by leveling the playing field and making sure every Coloradan is paid the same for the same work.”
“We know that women across Colorado have been negatively affected by the wage gap and that federal law has done very little to close it,” said Senator Pettersen. “That is why we worked hard to pass this Colorado solution to make sure everyone gets equal pay for equal work.”
On average, white women in Colorado earn 86 cents for every dollar men make for doing the same job. For women of color, the disparities are even more pronounced. According to the Women’s Foundation of Colorado, Black and Latina women respectively earn 63.1 and 53.5 cents for every dollar men earn for the same job.
The Equal Pay for Equal Work Act sets proactive measures to reduce the gender pay gap by requiring companies to notify all qualified employees about job advancement opportunities, as well as the salary range. Employers would also be forbidden to ask for the previous salary history of a prospective employee. This will give women leverage to advocate for themselves and ensure that they are not held back by previous wage discrimination.
The bill will also hold bad actors accountable, allowing anyone to take legal action if they believe their wage differential is based on sex. To be exempt, an employer would need to demonstrate a pay gap is based on seniority, merit, or a difference in quantity or quality of work.
The Equal Pay for Equal Work Act passed the Colorado House of Representatives on April 27, 2019 by a vote of 40-to-21. For more information about the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, please visit: https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/sb19-085.