Equal Pay for Equal Work Act

Monday December 7, 2020 comments


Coming to you 1.1.21

Happy New Year… well it will be shortly. And with that new year, if you’re a Colorado employer you’ve got a new regulation to comply with. Though you have to comply with all kinds of federal, state, and local laws and court precedents, your organization’s culture is a better reason to do these things. More on that at the end of this.

Starting January 1, all employers in the state of Colorado are required to:

  • Not inquire about salary history;
  • Internally post every job in Colorado that could be a promotion for any person in Colorado. This applies to remote work for Colorado employers as well. The only place it does not apply is to non-Colorado employers with no employees in Colorado. Otherwise, consider yourself covered...even if you have only 1 employee.

The posting must:

  • Be in writing (not merely spoken or announced);
  • Be communicated in the normal way you communicate with employees (chat, email, memos, posted notices);
  • Go to all employees and not just those deemed to meet the requirements (though you can state that applications are open to only those who meet certain qualifications);
  • Provide expected salary or salary range along with any bonuses, commissions, or other forms of extra pay. (Not all employers use salary ranges. In that case it must be what you expect in good faith to be the lowest to the highest you might pay. Actual pay can deviate from what you posted if you operate in good faith and made a reasonable effort at the time of the posting.);
  • Include information about applicable benefits (such as health care, retirement, paid days off including vacation, sick, holidays, parental leave, and any other benefits that must be reported for federal tax purposes but not minor perks like snacks);
  • Provide directions for applying.

Sounds ominous, particularly when it’s mandated. Actually it’s not that bad. Here’s why:

  • Nothing prohibits you from asking about salary expectations. Someone’s salary history can be impacted by things in someone’s past including discriminatory practice, lifestyle preferences, economic and competitive conditions of a prior employer, and trade-offs related to culture and perks. None of those may have anything to do with your open position.
  • Once you get a boilerplate posting put together that clearly states the benefits all benefits-eligible employees receive, it’s easy to add some basic information about the job, the requirements for someone to be considered, and the expected pay. Don’t make it any more complicated than it is. You don’t have to create formal salary ranges, particularly if you use a different kind of pay mechanism like flat rates or steps.
  • You don’t have to make it a job description. A posting could be a few concise sentences. Think advertisement; not contract.
  • With most communication being digital for a lot of employers, you don’t actually have to do anything in print that you have to remember to manage. If you don’t use electronic communication, you can put it on paper and post it where employees would see communications - like by the time clock, in a break room, etc.

But from the culture side rather than compliance…

Rather than doing this because you’re being forced to by the state, why not use it as a way of communicating your desired culture? If you have a desired culture of open communication, use this as a way of demonstrating how you do just that. If you have a desired culture of engagement, use this as a way of engaging people in growth opportunities within the growth of your organization. If you desire to promote from within, use this as a way to emphasize career opportunities for the great members of your team.

Nothing in this means you have to promote someone - or even consider someone - who does not mean the requirements of the job. In fact, nothing in this means you have to give credit to the government for the fact that you start posting jobs! Just start doing it because of who you are.

And when it comes right down to it, why would anyone want to discriminate against women anyway?
At Open Door, we believe that your organizational culture - whether it’s formed by intention or default - drives everything. We help you cultivate a culture that can carry the vision that's worth pouring your life into.



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