The difference in paychecks that men and women receive has existed for decades and still remains a problem to this day. Despite the increased awareness of the issue, many states still have issues with enforcing wage equality in the workplace.
Governor Jared Polis made national news recently when he signed Senate Bill 19-085, better known as the “Equal Pay for Equal Work Act.” This doesn’t come into effect until January 1, 2021, but both workers and employers should understand what this means for female employees and other people with wage issues.
Fixing some old problems
It is worth noting that there were already laws in place that prohibited gender wage discrimination in Colorado, but the new bill updates it to include a wider range of employees who may have suffered since then. Now workers should get the same amount of income for the same amount of work no matter what gender they are.
Additionally, employers must make announcements for promotion opportunities available to all employees on the same day and keep records of each worker’s wage rate history at the company to avoid potential wage discrepancy. This will help make it not appear like the employer is playing favorites or discriminating against certain employees.
However, they do recognize that some false accusations may arise out of this bill, so they further clarified which factors should influence differences in the wage rate:
- The seniority system
- The merit system
- The quantity and quality of the work produced
- Where the work was performed
- How much education and training the worker has
- How much the worker travels
Under this new bill, Colorado employers cannot seek or request the wage rate history of a potential employee in the hiring process to help determine their potential income. This has been one of the largest grievances for job applicants for years as many of them land a job and make less than they should only because of their previous position.
Arguably one of the largest changes the bill makes is that a worker no longer must go through the director of the Department of Labor and Employment to enforce wage discrimination. Now they can pursue legal action against their employers themselves. This might be necessary since not all companies will adjust to these new regulations right away, so it’s important to know an attorney who can help you recover your wage losses.