Equal Pay for Equal Work Act and Pay Equity Study
This FAQ is a living document that is updated as new information becomes available. It was first posted on January 21, 2020.
Equal Pay for Equal Work Act FAQ
The Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act (“Act”) and the accompanying Equal Pay Transparency Rules are intended to promote equity in compensation and opportunity. A primary tool for accomplishing the goal of equity in compensation and opportunity is requiring employers to be transparent in sharing opportunities with the employer’s entire workforce.
What does the Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act do?
Prohibits wage discrimination between employees on the basis of sex or on the basis of sex in combination with another protected status, by paying an employee of one sex a wage rate less than the rate paid to an employee of a different sex for substantially similar work (based on a composite of skill; effort, which may include consideration of shift work; and responsibility), regardless of job title. A wage rate differential is permissible if at least one of the following factors accounts for the entire wage rate differential:
- A seniority system;
- A merit system;
- A system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production;
- The geographic location where the work is performed;
- Education, training, or experience to the extent that they are reasonably related to the work in question; or
- Travel, if the travel is a regular and necessary condition of the work performed.
Requires the employer to keep records of job descriptions and wage rate history for each employee for the duration of employment plus two years after the end of employment.
Requires notice of job openings and promotional opportunities, including the hourly or salary rate or range and a general description of all benefits and other compensation offered to the hired applicant.
Prohibits using pay history for prospective employees by requiring that an employer not seek the wage rate history, or rely on the wage rate history, of a prospective employee to determine a wage rate. Discrimination or retaliation against a prospective employee for failing to disclose wage rate history is also prohibited.
What are a hiring manager’s obligations under the Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act:
- All job openings and promotional opportunities must be posted with specified pay rate or range. Job postings can no longer state that “pay is commensurate with experience.”
All promotional opportunities must be posted to the entire workforce before a hiring or promotion decision is made.
When hiring a prospective employee or promoting an existing employee to a new position, you cannot ask for their current salary or salary history, and cannot use that information to set compensation for the new position; and
Employees may not be prohibited from or disciplined for disclosing their compensation.
Hiring Managers should confirm that there is an accurate job description for all employees.
Are we required to consider unqualified candidates for positions?
No. Although employers must notify all employees of all promotional opportunities, including those whom the employer deems are not qualified for the position, the employer may state that applications are open to only those with certain qualifications and may screen or reject candidates who do not meet such qualifications.
What is considered a promotional opportunity that requires a posting?
A “promotional opportunity” means when the University of Denver (“DU” or “University”) has or anticipates a vacancy in an existing or new position that could be considered a promotion for one or more employee(s) in terms of compensation, benefits, status, duties, or access to further advancement.
The very limited exceptions of when a promotional opportunity is not required to be posted are:
- Confidential job searches where an incumbent is still in the position;
- Automatic promotion after a probationary period within one year of hire; or
- Filling a position on a temporary, acting or interim basis for up to six months.
For additional information or to request an exception to posting, please see the Posting Procedures for Faculty and Staff.
What compensation and benefits information must be included in job postings?
Employers must include the following compensation and benefits information in each posting:
The hourly rate or salary compensation (or a range thereof) that the employer in good faith believes it may pay for the particular job;
A general description of any bonuses, commission, or other forms of compensation that are being offered for the job; and
A general description of all employment benefits that are being offered for the position.
How will the University determine the hourly rate or salary compensation (or a range thereof) that it will post for the particular faculty or staff position?
For staff positions, the University will post the salary range that HR Compensation has determined for the particular position, rather than the much broader range for the position’s salary grade.
For faculty, the University will post the salary range that the Office of the Provost has determined and approved for the particular position.
My unit has a tight budget for our job opening. May I post the median salary budgeted for the job posting instead of the salary range?
No. Job postings must include the approved salary range for the position determined by HR Compensation for staff or the Office of the Provost for faculty, rather than a midpoint or portion of the range. However, as noted in the salary disclaimer, the salary ultimately offered to the selected candidate will be determined based on factors such as the qualifications of the selected candidate, departmental budget availability, internal salary equity considerations, and available market information, but not be based on a candidate’s sex or any other protected status.
No salary can be set based upon the prior wage history of the applicant.
What is the “salary disclaimer”?
The salary disclaimer will accompany all job postings and states the following:
The University of Denver has provided a compensation range that represents its good faith estimate of what the University may pay for the position at the time of posting. The University may ultimately pay more or less than the posted compensation range. The salary offered to the selected candidate will be determined based on factors such as the qualifications of the selected candidate, departmental budget availability, internal salary equity considerations, and available market information, but not based on a candidate’s sex or any other protected status.
What is the Job Posting requirement for promotions?
The University is required to make “reasonable efforts” to “announce, post or otherwise make known all opportunities for promotion to all current employees on the same calendar day and prior to making a promotion decision.”
A “promotional opportunity” means when the University has or anticipates a vacancy in an existing or new position that could be considered a promotion for one or more employee(s) in terms of compensation, benefits, status, duties, or access to further advancement. The posting must include at least:
The job title;
The required and preferred qualifications for the position;
The hourly rate or salary compensation (or a range thereof) that the employer in good faith believes it may pay for the particular job;
A general description of any bonuses, commission, or other forms of compensation that are being offered for the job; and
A general description of all employment benefits that are being offered for the role.
The posting requirement is for all positions to all employees, even if most employees do not meet the minimum qualifications for the posted position. However, the posting may state that applications are open to only those with certain qualifications, and the University may screen or reject candidates who do not meet such qualifications.
Are there any exceptions to the job posting requirement?
There are only three limited exceptions to the posting requirements in the Act:
- Confidential searches where an incumbent is still in the position;
- Automatic promotions after a probationary or trial period within one year of hire; or
- Filling a position on a temporary, acting, or interim basis for up to six months.
The most relevant exception for hiring managers is for temporary, acting or interim hires for up to six months, where the hiring is not expected to be permanent. An example is a seasonal position or placing an employee in an acting or interim position. If the hire or the position may become permanent, the hiring manager must comply with the posting requirements to allow other employees to apply for the permanent position and, in any case, before making a permanent hiring decision.
May I elect to only post a job internally?
Yes, internal postings are available and an internal posting appropriate for promotions in seat (such as a change in title, responsibility and compensation), faculty overload payments, student employment, class assignments for adjunct professors or when the hiring manager, in collaboration with their HR partner, determines there is a sufficient pool of qualified applicants within the University.
When a position is posted, is a hiring manager required to interview all applicants?
DU is required to post all positions to at least to its internal employees before making a hiring or promotional decision, but the posting may state that applications are open to only those with certain qualifications, and the hiring manager may screen candidates based on not meeting such qualifications. Hiring managers can determine the scope and design of their search process in consultation with their HR partner or Shared Services Recruitment and consistent with the Staff Hiring Guide and Faculty Hiring Guide.
Where will job postings be made?
For Student Positions – Pioneer Careers
For Faculty and Staff Positions – PioneerJobs
Adjunct Faculty Course Assignments – PioneerJobs
How long must a job posting be posted?
Per the University Employee Handbook, the minimum number of days for a posting is as follows:
Non-exempt positions five business days
Exempt positions should be posted ten business days
Does the posting requirement apply to permanent promotions or job changes for existing employees?
The posting requirement applies to the position and not the person. In other words, the posting requirement applies whether or not there is a current employee who is considered eligible or even uniquely qualified for the position, promotion or a new job.
Does the posting requirement apply to student employment?
Yes. DU must post any job for a student employee who is expected to work for more than 6 months. For example, DU must post for any position for a student employee that is expected to last an entire academic year.
Does the posting requirement apply to faculty “overload” payments?
It depends. If the overload payment is for an assignment that lasts more than six months - yes. Examples of assignments that last more than six months may include taking on an additional role such as chair of a department, special project, or teaching an additional course. Examples of assignments that last up to six months and do not require a posting could include an interim appointment of less than six months.
Is a posting required for graduate teaching/ research/ student assistant (GXA)?
Yes. The Office of Graduate Education and the Office of the Provost will develop a job posting to satisfy the requirements of the Act for GXAs and fellowships that are provided as a part of graduate students’ financial aid award and recruiting package. Departments will not be required to make individual postings for those positions. However, departments must post through student employment process any hourly positions available to existing graduate students that are not a GXA or fellowship position.
Is a posting required for a temporary or seasonal employees?
Under the Act, no posting is required to fill a position on a temporary basis for up to six months where the hiring is not expected to be permanent. An example is an acting, interim or seasonal position. If the hire or the position may become permanent, DU must comply with the posting requirements to allow other employees to apply for the permanent position, and in any case, before making a permanent hiring decision.
Is a posting required for adjunct assignments to a particular course?
Yes. An internal job posting is required for all adjunct assignments to teach a particular course where the department or unit will be making the assignment from a pool of adjunct professors who are already University employees. The teaching assignments opportunities will be posted on PioneerJobs with instructions on how member of the adjunct pool can express interest in teaching a particular course. Departments can use both the expressions of interest and existing members of the hired adjunct pool (regardless of an expression interest) to fill course teaching positions.
Is a job posting required to hire a new adjunct as a University employee?
Yes. The University must comply with the posting requirements when hiring a new adjunct into the University to become part of a particular college’s adjunct pool.
Is a posting required for an employee that is currently filling a role that is designated as an “interim?”
No. If an interim position is currently filled, a posting is not required.
Is a posting required for non-benefited staff?
It depends. If you expect the employee to work for more than 6 months, then a posting is required. This applies to 1000 hour employees, part-time employees, and full-time staff. If you initially hire an employee as temporary staff and later determine that you need the position after 6 months, you must post the job before making a hiring decision to fill the position, even if there is an incumbent employee in the position. Therefore, it is recommended that all non-benefited staff positions be posted to provide maximum flexibility for the hiring manager.
My job description is outdated, what should I do?
Please work with your supervisor to update your job description and maintain an updated version. The supervisor must work with HR partners and HR Compensation to approve all final job descriptions.
Are promotions that are career progressions for existing employees, subject to the posting requirements?
Yes. DU is required to make “reasonable efforts” to “announce, post or otherwise make known all opportunities for promotion to all current employees on the same calendar day and prior to making a promotion decision.” A “promotional opportunity” includes a vacancy in an existing or new position that could be considered a promotion for one or more employee(s) in terms of compensation, benefits, status, duties, or access to further advancement. This applies to promotions for existing employees being promoted, chair appointments and rank and tenure decisions.
How will job postings be completed for the rank and tenure process?
The University will make an internal posting for the rank and tenure process annually via PioneerJobs.
Are the posting requirements effective January 1, 2021 for all positions?
It depends. Any existing job postings that are currently open need not be revised to comply with the Act until February 1, 2021. Alternatively, hiring managers can elect to close open searches on or before January 31, 2020.
All postings made on and after January 1, 2021 must meet the posting requirements, including a compensation range and a general description of all benefits and other compensation offered to the hired applicant.
Pay Equity Study FAQ
Why is pay equity important at the University of Denver?
Equitable pay for our employees is critical to creating an equitable environment for all who live, work and study here. Our wholehearted support for pay equity takes on even greater importance as we navigate both the impacts of Covid-19 and our growing awareness that many people on our campus experience inequity and marginalization. More than ever, we now must closely examine all of our policies and decisions in the context of race, gender, and other aspects of our complex identities.
What is a pay equity study, and why is DU doing one?
Pay equity studies are designed to determine whether there are systemic inequities impacting the salaries of employees on the basis of sex, race/ethnicity, or age. As announced to the DU community in July 2019, DU appointed a Pay Equity Advisory Committee, which provided advice and guidance that resulted in the hiring of an independent consultant, Gallagher Human Resources and Compensation Consulting, to examine the salary data for all of our non-union, benefited faculty and staff. The study, which follows the significant market-based salary corrections we have made in the past for both faculty and staff, and is part of our continuing efforts to make DU an equitable, diverse, and welcoming community as expressed through our systems and our culture.
What is the current status of the pay equity study? And what will happen next?
Gallagher has examined fiscal year 2018–19 data salary data provided by DU, and has presented initial findings to the Advisory Committee. While the committee is confident in Gallagher’s initial findings, a subcommittee of the Pay Equity Committee, comprised of faculty and staff with expertise in statistics and research methodology will be taking a closer at Gallagher’s results, and offering advice on such aspects of the project as approach, results, and communication to the campus community. DU also has engaged Gallagher to evaluate and provide recommendations for staff job architecture, job levels, and career pathing within the University. A dedicated advisory group is currently being formed to ensure that we have strategic partnership and collaboration for this second phase of the project, which we expect to complete by the end of the calendar year.
Has Gallagher recommended any changes to our overall policies?
Yes, they recommended two adjustments in the interest of ensuring greater equity: (a) that we standardize performance-management guidelines for faculty and staff; and (b) that we update our guidelines regarding temporary salary increases. More information about staff salary grades and compensation can be found here. A message to the community dated August 19 contains more information about the recommendations.
When and why did the pay equity study start?
Chancellor Rebecca Chopp (now Chancellor Emeritus) initiated the University-wide Pay Equity Study to promote equity and fairness in how DU treats all employees. Chancellor Jeremy Haefner championed the study when he served as provost and executive vice chancellor, and now, as Chancellor, he has continued his commitment to addressing any inequities that the study reveals.
What does “pay equity” mean?
Pay equity is also known as “equal pay for equal work.” Signed by President John F. Kennedy, the Equal Pay Act (EPA) of 1963 requires that men and women receive equal pay for equal work in the same establishment. The jobs do not need to be identical, but they must be substantially equal. It is job content, rather than job titles, that determines whether jobs are substantially equal. Specifically, the EPA provides that employers may not pay unequal wages to men and women who perform jobs that require substantially equal skill, effort and responsibility, and that are performed under similar working conditions within the same establishment (EEOC, 2019).
What is the law in Colorado?
In April 2019, the Colorado legislature passed Senate Bill 85, called the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act. Similar to federal law, this state law prohibits employers from paying different wages based on sex. The law also requires employers to announce new job opportunities and include salary ranges in all job postings. And it creates a process to administer and mediate pay equity complaints. Once the new law goes into effect—on January 1, 2021—employers can be held financially accountable if the sex-based pay discrimination is found to be intentional.
Is this why the University is conducting a pay equity study?
No. Commitment to equity is one of DU’s fundamental values. As an Affirmative Action employer, we already review and report on our salary practices and data on an annual basis. When we began the study, we were reasonably confident that most salaries were in line with our goal to have a fair and equitable approach towards compensation. Nevertheless, we chose to conduct this pay equity study using an external consultant to examine our data and processes in a more granular and specific fashion. We have leadership support for our many University-wide diversity and inclusion initiatives. We hope every member of this community will understand and appreciate our commitment and support for equitable pay as a critical value.
Is the University required to do this study? Is it related to the accusations of pay inequities in DU’s Sturm College of Law?
No, the study is voluntary. It also is completely separate from the equity initiatives that apply specifically to the law school.
How does this pay equity study relate to the compensation studies done in the recent past?
The pay equity study is one of an ongoing series of projects designed to address compensation at DU. As an Affirmative Action employer, the University reviews faculty and staff salary practices and data on an annual basis to determine whether there are sex, race, or ethnicity-based disparities. In 2015, the University established staff salary grades and pay levels. Through a $2.1 million investment, the University provided salary adjustments to 423 staff members and brought 100 percent of benefited staff to at least 85 percent of their salary-grade midpoint. In 2018, the University adjusted a smaller number of staff salaries based on years of service, performance rating, and compensation ratio (relative to market rate). Now, the 2020 pay equity study will analyze internal faculty and staff salary data to identify and correct potential pay inequities based on sex, age or race/ethnicity. The study also will review internal pay practices to identify any systemic issues that might unintentionally perpetuate inequity in the future. It is important, however, to understand the difference between market adjustments previously given and the pay equity study. Please see below for further clarification.
Who is making sure the study is fair and accurately done?
While serving as provost and executive vice chancellor, Chancellor Haefner appointed a pay equity advisory committee, which he charged with determining “whether there are systemic inequities affecting our non-union benefitted faculty and staff salaries based on sex and underrepresented minority status.” He asked the committee to oversee the administration of a pay equity study, specifically to offer advice on vendor selection, study approach, and communication to the campus community. In July 2019, after a thorough RFP process, the committee chose Gallagher Human Resources and Compensation Consulting as the vendor to conduct the study. Gallagher has a global reputation for their work in higher education and for their commitment to diversity and inclusivity. In October 2019, with the committee’s oversight, DU provided data to Gallagher to begin the review.
Who serves on the Pay Equity Advisory Committee, and how were the members chosen?
The committee is comprised of nine faculty members, seven staff members, two deans, and a representative from the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Members were either nominated by faculty and staff or they expressed interest in participating. Their names were announced in July 2019 and can be found here.
Will anyone’s pay be reduced as a result of the study?
Definitely not. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has stated that, if there is a disparity in wages between men and women, employers may not reduce the wages of either men or women to comply with the Equal Pay Act. In addition, DU is committed to promoting equity based not only on sex, but also on age, race and ethnicity.
After the study, how will DU ensure equitable pay in the future?
In addition to reviewing our current data, Gallagher reviewed all of the University’s pay practices. We will follow their recommendations to ensure that the University has systems in place to promote fair and equitable pay in the future. Also, as an Affirmative Action employer, we will continue to review faculty and staff salary practices and data on an annual basis.
How does the study compare faculty roles in different disciplines?
The data provided to Gallagher uses a salary factor to distinguish the market rate for different disciplines, similar to compensation grades for staff. The salary factor is the ratio of the average salary for a given academic rank and specific discipline to the overall average salary across all disciplines for that rank.
Whom can I reach out to with questions?
The following graphic explains what the pay equity study is and is not.
Pay Equity Glossary
We offer the following definitions to facilitate an accurate understanding of the communications materials related to the University of Denver’s 2020 pay equity study.
Affirmative Action employer
An employer who proactively recruits, hires and promotes minorities, women, disabled individuals and veterans with the intent of increasing the representation of underrepresented groups.
Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act (Senate Bill 85)
This legislation prohibits Colorado employers from discriminating on the basis of sex by paying different wages to employees of different sexes for substantially similar work using a composite of skill, effort and responsibility.
Wages paid by an organization to employees in exchange for work, including bonuses.
An employee’s comparison ratio (compa-ratio) is calculated by taking their annual salary and dividing it by the midpoint of their salary grade. The closer someone is to the midpoint (compa-ratio = 1), the more competitive to the market their salary is.
Compensation and benefits comparable to other employers in the same industry and geographical area.
Federal Equal Pay for Equal Work Act (EPA of 1963)
The Equal Pay for Equal Work Act prohibits employers from paying women less than men for doing the same or substantially the same work at the same facility.
Equal pay for equal work
Compares the pay of two specific employees, one male and one female, doing the same or substantially similar work.
Internal consistency of salary amongst employees within an organization.
External market data
An organization’s relative position in the marketplace when compared to other companies in the same industry.
Pay at a level that matches the market average salary for a specific job.
Paying employees fairly and consistently, without discrimination, but taking into account job-related factors such as performance, education, work experience, and tenure.
Pay equity study
An analysis to determine whether there are systemic inequities affecting employees at an organization based on gender and underrepresented minority status.
“Promotional Opportunity” means when the University has or anticipates a vacancy in an existing or new position that could be considered a promotion for one or more employee(s) in terms of compensation, benefits, status, duties, or access to further advancement.
Protected and non-protected groups
Under federal law, employers cannot discriminate against protected groups on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, or disability. However, not every group is a protected class under federal law. If a person is not a member of one of the designated groups, they may not be protected under federal or state anti-discrimination laws. Examples include people with criminal records, undocumented aliens, or individuals with varying education levels.
When the pay of employees in lower-level jobs are paid almost as much as their colleagues in higher-level jobs.
The salary factor is the ratio of the average salary for a given academic rank and specific discipline to the overall average salary across all disciplines for that rank.
Salary grade mid-point
The middle point of a salary range’s minimum and maximum.