(Apr. 17) – The House Business Affairs and Labor committee approved Rep. Janet Buckner and Rep. Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez’s bill to help close the wage gap in Colorado. Currently, the gender wage gap is projected to not close until 2057 in Colorado and 2059 nationally.
“This bill is extremely important to me on a personal level. Black women make 56.1 cents on the dollar compared to white men. Pay discrimination is a real and persistent issue that short changes women and their families. Women are the sole breadwinners in a growing number of hardworking families in Colorado,” Rep. Buckner, D-Aurora, said. “We believe we are taking a bold step to help close the gender wage gap by addressing the root cause of pay disparity.”
Colorado women are paid 86 cents for every dollar paid to men for doing the same job and African-American women earn 63 cents for every dollar paid to men for doing the same job. The bill, SB19-085, provides an avenue by which Coloradans can, through mediation via the Colorado Department of Labor & Employment and through the court system, seek relief if they have been discriminated against in their compensation based on their sex. The bill puts proactive measures to reduce the gender pay gap and prohibits employers from discriminating against workers based on sex.
“In order to solve the pay gap, we must address unintentional wage disparity. This bill implements common sense prevention and transparency measures to fight the pay gap,” said Rep. Gonzales-Gutierrez, D-Denver. “We are fighting for women to be treated with the dignity, fairness and respect they deserve. This bill is a Colorado solution that strikes a balance between workers and employers. It’s time for our state to take the lead in achieving equal pay for equal work.”
SB19-085, the Equal Pay For Equal Work Act, passed on a vote of 7-3 and now goes to the House Appropriations committee.