Colorado Capitol Report

What We’re Watching: Equal Pay Expansion Clears Senate Approval

What We’re Watching: Equal Pay Expansion Clears Senate Approval

Senate Bill 105, an expansion of the 2019 Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, was passed by the Senate today in a 24-11 vote and will now move to the House for consideration.

The original bill from 2019 required all employers to include compensation information in online job postings for Colorado applicants. The Colorado Chamber took a neutral position on that bill after working with the sponsors to ensure that it was feasible for employers to implement.

The new bill expands on the original law, creating additional liability for employers by extending the statute of limitations for back pay from three to six years. In addition, the bill creates privacy issues for employees across the state by forcing new mandates on businesses to publicly identify who is hired or promoted within the company. The Colorado Chamber’s Labor and Employment Council is currently in an opposed position on SB 105 for these reasons.

The bill also does nothing to address the issue of remote work, which became much more common during the pandemic after the original law was passed. Major publications from The Wall Street Journal to The Atlantic highlighted how top companies were excluding Colorado applicants from highly sought-after remote jobs due to the complexities of the new regulations.

The Colorado Chamber has worked closely with the bill sponsors to address the issue and has provided lawmakers with comprehensive feedback on how to improve the law to clear up ambiguities. The Chamber’s 2023 legislative agenda specifically calls for strategic improvements to the Equal Pay law. Unfortunately, SB 105 does little to address the concerns of the business community about the implementation of the 2019 bill.

“SB 105 makes very few improvements to the law and makes things more confusing,” the Chamber’s lead lobbyist Meghan Dollar testified to the Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee in February.

Two minor amendments were passed on the Senate Floor this week, but otherwise the bill remained intact. One amendment cleans up language throughout the bill and another allows for an exemption on emergency or temporary hires and other situations. Senate Republicans attempted to pass several amendments to address concerns over remote work and exposure of employers to litigation. Those amendments all failed.

The Colorado Chamber’s lobby team will continue to work to improve the bill as it makes its way through the House in the coming weeks.

For further reading on SB 105, see this article from The Sum & Substance, the Colorado Chamber’s exclusive digital news publication.

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