‘Equal Pay’ Bill Set for Hearing
Senate Bill 85 reintroduces provisions from last year, but with a key difference

by Doug Chartier

This year’s version of a pay equity bill is scheduled to undergo its first test at the Colorado General Assembly this week. 

Introduced Jan. 18 by Democratic sponsors, the “Equal Pay for Equal Work Act” is similar to pay equity legislation that failed in a Republican-controlled committee last year. Senate Bill 85 reintroduces a ban on employers asking candidates for the salary history as well as a requirement that employers announce all job openings — with their salary ranges — to all of their employees.

 But Senate Bill 85 is even more ambitious in certain ways than last year’s pay equity bills, which will likely have Colorado employers paying extra attention to its progress.

Senate Bill 85 will be heard Wednesday in the Senate Judiciary Committee. According to the bill’s legislative declaration, women in Colorado earn 86 cents for every dollar men earn. African-American women earn 63.1 cents and Latinas earn 53.5 cents for every dollar white men earn in the state. 

Equal pay would halve the poverty rate among working women, according to the bill’s drafters.

“It’s time that we stop the perpetuation of injustice,” said co-sponsor Sen. Brittany Pettersen in a press release. “Hardworking Coloradans deserve equal pay for equal work. This legislation is not only critical for women but for millennials who started their careers on unequal footing because of the Great Recession.”

To read this story and other complete articles featured in the February 18, 2019 print edition of Law Week Colorado, copies are available for purchase online.