At the beginning of this year, the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act (EPEWA), which was signed in to law back in 2019, finally took effect. The EPEWA amends Colorado state law to provide new equal pay provisions intended to minimize wage inequality based on sex.
The legislation was sponsored by two state senators and two state representatives – all female. However, its provisions help bring transparency to an organization’s wage structure and help prevent people from being limited in what they are paid based on prior employment. These things can benefit all employees, regardless of their gender.
Mandates for employers
The new law prohibits Colorado employers from doing the following:
- Requiring a prospective employee to provide their wage history
- Using a person’s previous wage rate to determine their new one
- Retaliating or discriminating against a prospective or current employee for not disclosing their wage history
- Retaliating or discriminating against an employee for discussing their wage rate
It also requires them to:
- Include a wage rate or range in all job postings
- Maintain records of all employees’ job descriptions and wage rates throughout their employment and for two years following their departure from the organization.
When are differences in wages between men and women allowed?
Under the EPEWA, wage differences between employees or positions can’t be based on their sex or wage history. An employer must be able to show that any such difference in wages between two people of different sexes is based on at least one of the following factors:
- Quantity or quality of production (if a system is in place to measure that)
- Geographic location
- Education, experience and/or training
- Required travel as part of the job
Employers and their Human Resources departments should be aware of the new law and the provisions in it. However, if you believe that your employer is in violation of it and you’re unable to get a satisfactory resolution within your company, it may be wise to talk with an attorney to determine your options.