Series of bills at the State Capitol seek to bridge the pay gap between women and men

DENVER - A new round of bills were unveiled at the Capitol Thursday to bridge the gender pay gap in Colorado.

Research provided by the Women's Foundation of Colorado compared various ethnic groups of women to white men in Colorado and found that Latinas make about 54 cents to every dollar, African American women make 65 cents to every dollar and Caucasian women make 77 cents for every dollar.

"It's unacceptable that, in 2016, Colorado women of color and our families still have not only less to make ends meet today, but also less for a secure retirement tomorrow," said 9to5 Colorado State Director Neha Mahajan, in a statement provided to Denver7.

9to5 is an organization that seeks change on issues affecting low-wage women and their families.

Two of the new bills regarding equal pay don't actually refer increasing salaries for women. One of the bills, "Extending Pay Transparency Protection To All Employees" protects workers from retribution if they share salary information with each other.

The other new bill, "Fair Pay From The Start" would prevent potential employers from asking your previous salary history. It would require prospective employers to only ask what your salary requirements would be.

"If my employer would not have known about my previous earnings, their only basis of comparison would have been the existing employees that they had, which may have gotten me closer to a no pay-gap," said Lily Griego of 9to5 Colorado.

She said that she found out about her salary discrepancy after a local paper published all salaries from her job in Jefferson County.

"I firmly believe that these, and many injustices, start when our potential employers are aware of previous earnings."

The first wage gap bill introduced this year was actually the first bill the House Democrats introduced on day one. That bill would require anyone that has a state contract to provide equal pay.

Denver7 found out that "equal pay" doesn't necessarily mean matching salaries.

"We've made accommodations for workers in the work force who have differing levels of experience, education, training or if their jobs depend on the quantity of output," said bill sponsor, State Rep. Jessie Danielson, D-Wheat Ridge.

Denver7 asked how the state could even monitor to make sure that bill is enforced.

"What they have to do is show what they pay by occupation, and split up by gender and ethnicity (and) the pay ranges, so if there is an inherit problem, the state will be able to see that," said Danielson.

The bills are sponsored by House Democrats.


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