Colorado State Senate Affirms Equal Pay Law…Will it Pass in 2019?
Colorado legislators are only a few steps away from approving the Colorado “Equal Pay for Equal Work Act” (SB 19-085) and making it the latest to enact enhanced equal pay legislation.
Colorado’s 2019 Equal Pay Law, as originally introduced in January, was one of the most aggressive equal pay laws introduced in the nation. Hearings held on the law in February resulted in a number of employer-friendly changes to the law. One of the most significant changes was the addition of “any factor other than sex” as an acceptable reason for wage differences between men and women.
During recent debate in the Colorado Senate, Republicans offered an amendment that would have removed the private right of action and kept enforcement of state equal pay violations with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. The amendment failed (16-19) along party lines, and no substantive changes have been made since the proposed law cleared committees in late-February. The Colorado Senate approved the final bill 20-14, with two Republicans joining 18 Democrats.
It is now a race against time for the bill to pass, as the Colorado Legislature is set to adjourn on May 3. SB 19-085 is scheduled for a hearing in the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee before moving to the House Floor for a final vote. Democrats (all expected to vote in favor of the law) hold a 41-24 advantage in the House. If the bill moves forward unchanged, it would head to Governor Jared Polis, who is likely to sign it. However, if the House amends the bill, it would have to return for re-passage by the Senate with only a few days left in the legislative session, or be re-introduced at the beginning in the 2020 legislative session.