DENVER (KDVR) — Lawmakers have less than a couple of weeks left to finish up work for this legislative session.
On Monday, they took up things like drug affordability and tax incentives for using clean energy over carbon, with the goal being done the first week of May. House members were also working on some key bills related to employment rights.
Earlier in the day, representatives on the floor worked on a bill looking to expand unemployment benefits. In the afternoon, they looked at tightening enforcement of the state’s equal pay law.
If the unemployment dependency allowance measure passes, starting in 2026, dependents of a person receiving unemployment benefits start at $35 a week per dependent. Eligible dependents would be children or people over 18 who are incapable of working. That $35 amount would be adjusted for inflation.
Equal pay and job transparency
The equal pay bill was in committee Monday afternoon. The measure is an update to a law passed in 2019 that was designed to prevent pay inequities by making sure jobs post accurate descriptions and salaries on postings.
The new bill looks to improve things, like:
- expanding backpay from three years to six years for underpaid work
- requiring transparency around job vacancies
- making sure the Department of Labor and Employment has the tools to investigate complaints of pay inequity and enforce the rules surrounding the equal pay law.
Advocates say the state can improve on making sure rules are followed.
“A big point that came from our members was that, yes, they loved the initial transparency measures, but they were experiencing they needed more,” said Kaitlin Altone, 9 to 5 Colorado senior organizer. “What happened after that initial posting, how can they really take the necessary steps to put their initial hat in the ring and then also once a hiring decision was made, what happened?”
“Everything in the bill that they are trying to implement from what they already had before is good,” said Edith Mata, a former sanitation worker turned 9 to 5 organizer. “Just because I think the transparency is very important, since a lot of the time, I think employers make their own decision without passing it back through the employees, and a lot of times, that just loses an opportunity for us.”
Colorado was one of the first states to enact a pay transparency law. Supporters hope to continue building that momentum through the new measure that cleared committee 8-3.