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May 1, 2023

House Passes Equal Pay for Equal Work

DENVER, CO – The House today passed legislation to ensure Colorado workers are compensated equally for their labor. SB23-105, sponsored by Assistant Majority Leader Bacon and Representative Gonzales-Gutierrez, would strengthen the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, bringing Colorado closer to closing the wage gap. 

“If men and women are doing the same job, they should be compensated the same for it, plain and simple,” said Rep. Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez, D-Denver. “In Colorado, despite our progress, we’re still fighting to achieve pay equity and close the wage gap that inevitability hurts women and families. This legislation strengthens Colorado’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Act by further breaking down wage barriers and helping women succeed in their careers.” 

“The Equal Pay for Equal Work Act is already law, yet women in Colorado are still earning less than men for doing the same job,” said Assistant Majority Leader Jennifer Bacon, D-Denver. “We’re committed to helping communities hit hardest by the pandemic build back stronger, and that begins with equal pay for equal work. The wage gaps between Black women and white men are resounding, and our legislation takes steps to combat wage discrimination and ensure all women are paid fairly. The bill will foster an environment for women to advocate for better, fairer wages.”

SB23-105, passed the House by a vote of 41 to 21 and would strengthen Colorado's Equal Pay for Equal Work Act to ensure all Colorado workers are compensated equally for their labor. Specifically, this bill 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. Previously the department was only authorized to do so; this bill provides a clearer directive accompanied with the resources and staffing to back it up.

This bill would also require CDLE to investigate complaints or other leads concerning wage inequality, and to address the situation if the complaint is found to be valid as well as requiring employers to follow specific guidelines for job postings. SB23-105 would also extend the maximum period for which a person pursuing a wage discrimination complaint may receive back pay to six years, doubling what is currently allowed under state law.

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