What’s Working: Get ready for Colorado’s wage-transparency law, part 2 

“How a lot does the job pay?” is now not a lot of a thriller for job seekers in Colorado, because of a state legislation handed in 2019 and enacted two years later. 

Other states have adopted swimsuit in latest months, together with California, Washington and shortly, New York. But Colorado’s legislation wasn’t good. And now, the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act is poised for an replace from a number of the state lawmakers behind it. 

“Though the Equal Pay Act is working nicely, with these additions, it would higher serve staff and employers throughout the state,” mentioned Sen. Jessie Danielson, a Democrat from Wheat Ridge, who was one of many prime sponsors of the unique wage-transparency legislation. 

Supporters of a invoice that seeks to make sure ladies and men are paid equally for equal work rally on the Colorado Capitol on April 2, 2019. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

Pushback got here from out-of-state firms that didn’t ignore Colorado’s new legislation — they simply excluded candidates from Colorado. A Commerce City engineer created a web site to trace violators (it’s now archived). But there was additionally confusion amongst native employers about worker promotions and whether or not they needed to promote the brand new position to outsiders. 

“The complexity of the legislation, the confusion amongst employers, the issue of not addressing distant work conditions, as a result of they weren’t contemplated in 2019 when the unique invoice handed, must be addressed for the way forward for the workforce,” mentioned Loren Furman, president and CEO of the Colorado Chamber. 

This invoice goals to clear a few of these issues up. A draft shared with The Colorado Sun makes an attempt to make clear the distinction between “profession development” for current staff versus a “job alternative.” The latter means a present or anticipated emptiness that must be stuffed. The former is a promotion as part of that kind of job. Remote jobs aren’t addressed within the draft invoice.

Danielson mentioned she and different advocates, which embody The Women’s Foundation of Colorado, have met with events since spring to suss out their variations. But their makes an attempt to water down or take away protections for Coloradans who work remotely for out-of-state firms solely threatens pay fairness, particularly for girls.

“Excluding distant staff from the protections of the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act would negatively affect a valued and important part of our workforce,” she mentioned.

Impact of the Equal Pay legislation

When launched 4 years in the past, Colorado’s Equal Pay legislation sought to equalize pay for considerably comparable work. It stemmed from information displaying that ladies and other people of colour typically earn a lot lower than their white or male colleagues even in the identical roles. In Colorado, girls earned 86 cents for each $1 earned by males, in line with a 2018 evaluation by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

The affect of those new insurance policies isn’t but recognized as a result of the legal guidelines are younger. It’s too quickly.  Existing analysis was deemed “not conclusive” by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. 

In an evaluation of latest wage-transparency research, the group discovered pay transparency legal guidelines assist slender the gender wage hole by lowering wage progress amongst high earners, who are typically males. But, the evaluation discovered, these legal guidelines don’t essentially enhance girls’s earnings. Two research performed in college settings discovered the salaries of ladies college members elevated following the pay-transparency intervention. “Pay-transparency insurance policies are likely to depend on particular person staff advocating for pay will increase based mostly on newly out there info,” the evaluation mentioned.

Ashley Panelli, paid-leave organizer for 9to5 Colorado, spoke Tuesday, April 2, 2019 on the Equal Pay rally in entrance of the Colorado Capitol constructing. Panelli, who discovered a male coworker she supervised at a previous job earned $15,000 greater than she did, helps Senate Bill 85, which goals to make wages extra clear.
(Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

But one other measure of Colorado’s Equal Pay legislation is the affect within the United States, mentioned Louise Myrland, vice chairman of packages at The Women’s Foundation of Colorado. New York City’s wage transparency legislation went into impact in November. Several different states, together with Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and South Carolina are contemplating laws, in line with the National Conference of State Legislators. Connecticut, Maryland, Nevada and Rhode Island have applied legal guidelines just like Colorado however they don’t require salaries to be listed.

“Colorado was the primary that made a giant splash and acquired a whole lot of consideration for requiring pay ranges and compensation info in job postings, we’re actually main the way in which,” Myrland mentioned. “Today in 2023, as a result of a number of different states have adopted Colorado’s lead, about one in 4 staff nationwide now are lined by pay transparency legal guidelines.”

The Women’s Foundation labored on the unique legislation and new invoice with lawmakers and different organizations that included the Colorado Women’s Bar Association and 9to5 Colorado, a company representing working girls. Danielson is joined by two of the three prime sponsors of the unique invoice, together with Sen. Janet Buckner, an Aurora Democrat and Rep. Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez, a Denver Democrat. The fourth, Brittany Pettersen, is now a U.S. consultant. Rep. Jennifer Bacon, additionally a Denver Democrat, can be a primary sponsor. 

Equal pay stats: 631 complaints; Twitter, Lockheed fined

Complaints concerning the current wage transparency legislation are nonetheless coming in, although exercise trailed off through the 12 months, in line with the state Department of Labor and Employment. The workplace that oversees it, the Division of Labor Standards and Statistics, acquired 631 complaints about violations, which included posts that shared no wages, didn’t embody an outline of advantages or provided too vast of a spread (ranges should have a selected backside and high quantity).

“Compared to the primary 4 months of 2022, the common variety of month-to-month complaints within the final 4 months of 2022 decreased by virtually 45%,” a labor division spokesperson mentioned. 

After giving the businesses the prospect to right the difficulty, the overwhelming majority did. The state wound up issuing citations for simply 4 firms in 2022. Three had been fined, together with Lockheed Martin and Twitter. Those instances haven’t been publicly disclosed but, however might be, in line with the division.

The third, SpotOn Transact, a San Francisco-based funds firm, paid a $16,000 positive in July based mostly on violations associated to 33 job postings that didn’t embody compensation for jobs that might be carried out in Colorado.

➔ Spot a job itemizing in violation of the Equal Pay legislation? >> File a grievance

➔ What’s your wage transparency story? Has the legislation helped you as a job seeker or been a burden as an employer? Share with What’s Working by emailing [email protected]

Labor, legal guidelines and Colorado

New labor-related proposals have popped up simply weeks into the brand new legislative session. 

An already contentious one is House Bill 1118, the Fair Workweek Employment Standards invoice. It would require employers to submit employee schedules forward of time and never penalize staff who say “no” to last-minute calls for assist. And staff who do reply to last-minute schedule modifications would obtain a “predictability pay” bonus. 

“When companies present staff with schedules 14 days upfront and supply at the least 12 hours of relaxation time between shifts, it’s a win-win for employers and staff alike,” Nina DiSalvo, coverage director at Towards Justice, mentioned in an e mail. “Employees who can schedule little one care, a second job or different tasks — plus know their revenue to price range to cowl their payments — are happier, more healthy, extra productive and generate extra revenue for the enterprise.”

Produce assistant at Natural Grocers, Leslie Miller, shares the shares the apples within the produce part, Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, in Golden. (Hugh Carey, The Colorado Sun)

That places a burden on employers, so there’s sturdy opposition to the invoice already. What about climate disruptions, requested Furman, with the Colorado Chamber. Personal worker emergencies? The invoice as proposed is just too punitive, she mentioned.

“An employer might be sued for altering the schedule (with out) a two-week advance discover,” Furman mentioned. “It doesn’t ponder a snow bomb or act of God and even simply an worker that has an emergency or unintended absence. … It’s simply wonderful to me that they haven’t contemplated the situations in a state like Colorado that has such climate variations.” 

So… extra work to be performed on this invoice. It’s been scheduled for a committee assembly on Feb. 16.

➔ Interested in how the sausage is made? Committee conferences the place the debates circulation on proposed legal guidelines might be heard on-line. Just go to the Colorado General Assembly schedule and press the audio icon to pay attention. Or discover the invoice of curiosity and test its upcoming schedule. >> Weekly schedule


➔ How previous are you? Don’t even ask. Danielson is also a fundamental sponsor of the Job Application Fairness Act, which might cease employers from asking job seekers their age, delivery date and highschool or school commencement dates. It’s to fight age discrimination for older staff, who needs to be “judged on their advantage equal to their youthful counterparts after they’re attempting to get a brand new job,” Danielson mentioned. Business teams oppose it, saying on this still-tight market for staff, it’s “not a difficulty within the present labor market,” mentioned the Denver Metro Chamber.  >> Read story 

Do we’d like extra legal guidelines?

As of Jan. 27, with 62 responses to the most recent What’s Working reader ballot on what new legal guidelines curiosity you most, 37.1% help no new legal guidelines as a result of we now have too many. Another 22.6% are concerned about legal guidelines associated to retirement whereas 19.4% would perk up if there was a legislation that might increase their wage. Take the ballot your self at https://cosun.co/worklaws.

The clear winner within the newest What’s Working ballot about what new legal guidelines we’d like was “None. We have too many legal guidelines.” But at 37.1% of the incoming votes, it’s not the bulk. I’m going to let this ballot go for at the least one other week as a result of I acquired jammed up this week. But right here’s one suggestion: 

“I might like to see a invoice that lets the general public see how a lot massive firms pay their shareholders whereas inflicting client costs to skyrocket and holding staff’ pay low.”

We can discover out tidbits like this from publicly traded firms, which should report their income. There’s additionally the CEO pay ratio legislation, which reveals how wages of CEOs at public firms are sometimes many instances  larger than their staff (right here’s a searchable record). Two of the highest three in Colorado — Liberty Latin America and Qurate Retail, the place CEO-to-worker pay ratios are 1,055 to 1 and 686 to 1, respectively — are linked to retired cable TV mogul John Malone.

Take the ballot:

Colorado lawmakers are again in session. What ought to they be engaged on to make your work life higher? Take the ballot: https://cosun.co/worklaw

Other working bits

➔ U.S. financial system grew slower — News that the nation’s financial system remains to be rising was a aid as discuss of recession continued. The Wall Street Journal headlined its newest Bureau of Economic Analysis story succinctly: “Growth was lower than marketed, higher than feared.” The U.S. financial system grew 2.9% within the fourth quarter, because of customers spending extra on well being care, housing and utilities. But that was slower than the third quarter’s 3.2% progress. Wages additionally went up and financial savings fell. Leeds School of Business economists on the University of Colorado had beforehand forecast the state’s actual GDP to extend 2% this 12 months. >> Read

➔ Grants for the transitioning coal business: There’s $9.62 million out there to native companies and organizations serving to to transition their communities to new jobs and industries because the state strikes to cleaner power than coal. The most impacted communities of the “Just Transition Action Plan,” which embody Yampa Valley and West End of Montrose County, get precedence. >> Details

➔ New fund for unemployed and undocumented — Remember when lawmakers accredited a invoice final 12 months to make use of federal aid to repay that vast federal unemployment mortgage debt? The identical invoice created an unemployment fund for the undocumented staff who aren’t eligible for advantages although their employers pay for it. Fast Company studies on how this system will work. >> Read

Don’t miss: Sun financial system tales 

➔Why power payments shot up 52% — That’s how a lot the common Xcel Energy utility invoice rose in December from a 12 months in the past, mentioned a Colorado Public Utility Commission economist in a narrative by Sun reporters Joshua Perry and Mark Jaffe. Blame chilly climate and the unregulated pure gasoline market. >> Read 

➔Electrification rebates — Reporter Michael Booth rounds up how a lot money customers can get again from purchases of unpolluted warmth pumps, water heaters and extra provided in Colorado. >> Read

Related: Heat pumps do work within the bitter chilly, Jaffe studies. >> Read

➔Direct-cash packages on the rise in Colorado — Getting paid to reside by means of experimental basic-income packages has been serving to low-income Coloradans survive, studies Jennifer Oldham with the Colorado Trust. She shares updates on Denver’s basic-income program. >> Read 

Thanks for sticking with me for this week’s report. As at all times, share your 2 cents on how the financial system is holding you down or serving to you up at cosun.co/heyww. ~ tamara 

Don’t miss the free weekly e-newsletter on Colorado jobs and unemployment. Sign up: ColoradoSun.com/getww

Miss a column? Catch up:

What’s Working is a Colorado Sun column about surviving in right now’s financial system. Email [email protected] with tales, suggestions or questions. Read the archive, ask a query at cosun.co/heyww and don’t miss the following one by signing up at coloradosun.com/getww. 

Join the enjoyable and help good journalism. Become a Sun member at coloradosun.com/be part of 


Recommended For You