The Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce is comprised of businesses, business owners and women in business. Our mission is to help advance women in business and our organization plays a critical role in giving women and organizations the tools to grow. Equal pay and transparency in the workforce are important tools to that growth. Therefore, our membership strongly supports those concepts in the workforce.
We believe the government has and should play a leadership role in adding legal protections for women regarding equal pay. In addition, employers should adopt policies and periodic audits to ensure they are providing equal pay within their companies. However, we believe there is additional work to be done on the bill as currently drafted. Like many in the Colorado business community, including the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, we are concerned that certain provisions in this well-intentioned bill could have adverse consequences on our business community and potentially the very women in the workforce the bill is attempting to support.
First, we remain concerned about the private right of action. To ensure that the bill encourages systemic change, and results in fair pay for all women not just the most vocal or litigious, we propose the following amendments:
- a) include the Massachusetts model of an affirmative defense for employers who have conducted wage audits and made reasonable progress toward eliminating identified pay differentials;
- b) require an aggrieved employee to exhaust the administrative remedy first;
- c) change the record-keeping requirement presumption of bad faith a REBUTTABLE presumption.
Second, the posting requirement in Part 2 of the bill continues to be problematic. The Denver Metro Chamber and others opposing the bill have recommended:
- a) narrow the posting requirement of opportunities for promotion to all QUALIFIED employees, so that we’re not notifying engineers of positions in the HR department or custodial staff of a VP of Sales opening; and,
- b) limiting the requirement for salary range disclosure to “base salary or wage with a general description of benefits or additional compensation” so that we’re not assigning a value per hour of things like tips, commissions, stock options, parking privileges, etc.
We welcome the opportunity to meet with bill sponsors and those lawmakers supporting this important legislation.
Finally, we are encouraging our membership, who represent businesses large and small, to weigh in on this important issue.
For more information on the bill and its sponsors, visit https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/sb19-085.
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