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COVID-19: News and Campus Updates | Fall 2021 Plans

Equal Pay for Equal Work Act

In 2019, Colorado passed SB19-085 or the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act (EPEWA). EPEWA went into effect January 1, 2021. The intention of the bill is to address pay gaps caused by sex-based discrimination and to promote transparency across Colorado’s workforce.

The University of Northern Colorado is committed to providing an equitable and supportive environment for its employees.

UNC, with the aid of David Drown Associates (DDA), set upon the task of evaluating employee classification and compensation across campus. After DDA’s review, the university does not anticipate wide-spread salary changes; a reduction or elimination of jobs; or changes to an employee’s current working title or job duties.

EPEWA Basics

The act protects employees against pay discrimination based on sex (including gender identity) — alone or in combination with other protected statuses — for substantially similar work in terms of skill, effort and responsibility, regardless of job title.

  • Who does the Equal Pay Act apply to?

    EPEWA applies to all employers and employees in the state of Colorado, both public and private.

    Employer is defined as the state or any political subdivision, commission, department, institution, or school district thereof, and every other person employing a person in the state.

    Employee is defined as a person employed by an employer.

  • What does Colorado's Equal Pay Act require?

    There are several components to the EPEWA. Some of the provisions are:

    1.  Prohibits wage discrimination by requiring that an employer shall not discriminate 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.
    2. The Act 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.

    3. The Act requires providing notice of job openings and promotional opportunities, including the hourly or salary rate or range, and a general description of all of the benefits and other compensation offered to the hired applicant.

    4. Prohibits using pay history for prospective employees by requiring that an employer shall 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 prohibited.

  • Does EPEWA allow for pay differences? 

    Yes, the law does account for pay differences accounting for:

    • Seniority
    • Merit
    • Education, training, and experience
    • Geographic location
    • Travel
    • Quantity/quality of production
  • What does the law prohibit?
    • Seeking or using wage rate history to determine an employee’s wage rate
    • Discrimination and retaliation
      • Against prospective employees for failing to display their current pay rate
      • Against current employees because they inquired about, disclosed or discussed their wage rate

Review Process

UNC partnered with David Drown Associates to complete the initial review of all UNC employee categories and compensation. For information on the full process sent to employees, please refer to the Equal Pay Memo

Equal Pay Memo

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Review Process Summary

UNC and DDA used three modes of review to examine employee compensation:

  • Classified

    Step 1: Establish Employment Grades

    The Classified positions continued to use the grading system approved by the State of Colorado. 

    Step 2: Examine Variances

    Classified employees were sorted by the job classification, then by pay grade, then by years in position and then by salary to determine if there were any differences by sex for substantially similar positions. The same process that was used for the exempt and Faculty staff was then applied with the same causes (Tenure, Market, Special Skills) to determine the rationale for salary differences for employees in the same grade.

    Where we were unable to determine a rationale for the salary difference, the employee’s salary was brought up to the level of the employee within the same grade. 39 employees had their salaries adjusted, with a cost of over $50,000 for all the adjustments

  • Exempt

    Step 1: Establish Employment Grades

    Exempt staff were sorted into job families, then by Decision Band Method© (DBM) grade, and finally by salary.

    Step 2: Examine Variances

    Where there was a difference in salary for employees in the same job family and DBM grade, we investigated to determine the cause. Salary differences could be generally explained by one of the following causes:

    • Tenure
    • Market (such as a position where there is a scarcity of qualified employees)
    • Special Skills

    In those cases where we were unable to determine a rationale for the salary difference, the employee’s salary was brought up to the level of the employee within the same job family, DBM grade, and tenure that most closely matched their own. Over 60 employees had their salaries adjusted, with a cost of over $300,000 for all the adjustments.

  • Faculty

    Step 1: Establish Employment Grades

    Faculty were sorted - first by Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code, then by rank, and finally by salary.

    Step 2: Examine Variances

    For Faculty where we were unable to determine a rationale for the salary difference, the employee’s salary was brought up to the level of the employee within the same CIP code and rank. 15 employees had their salaries adjusted, with a cost of over $100,000 for all the adjustments.

For more information on David Drown Associates Company and their policies related to compensation and classification, please visit the DDA Website