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News for Norther Colorado and the world

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Playing Catch-Up: Equal Pay Day in the Centennial State

In today’s economy, many Coloradans feel like they’re constantly playing catch-up. For women in the workplace, however, today is the day they’ve finally caught up, literally, to what men made — in 2008. It’s “Equal Pay Day” in Colorado, a date that symbolizes the extra time many women have to put in on the job, to bring in the same amount of money as men in comparable jobs. A rally to call attention to pay inequity will be held at the State Capitol today at noon.

Lorena Garcia, with Denver’s 9 to 5 National Association of Working Women, says there’s also significance that the recognition comes on the second day of the work week, when looking at wages on a week-to-week basis.

“It takes until Tuesday for a woman’s wages to catch up to what a man earns from the previous week.”

According to Garcia, the average female worker in Colorado makes 80 cents for every dollar a man makes doing comparable work, although that amount varies for different groups. For white women, it’s 83 cents; for Latina women, it’s only 56 cents. She believes pay equity has not yet been achieved nationwide for two reasons: It doesn’t get enough attention from lawmakers, and intimidation and retaliation against workers who raise the issue is still common.

“How are women to be able to prove and combat pay discrimination when they can’t even talk about it? We’ll be given more tools and we’ll have more tools to close the pay gap.”

Colorado has state laws to protect workers who share information about their pay with each other, she adds, but the federal government has yet to pass similar strong legislation. She cites the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act signed by the president, and the Paycheck Fairness Act now in Congress, as the most recent advances in the battle to end pay discrimination.

Opponents of the Paycheck Fairness Act have said it will allow the government to micromanage employers, but supporters say only those employers who engage in pay discrimination should have anything to fear under the law.

— Colorado News Connection

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