Jan. 19. 2022
Dear faculty and staff:
We are writing to you today to provide an update on the progress the university made throughout last year in complying with the Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act.
The law, which took effect Jan. 1, 2021, introduced rules to address gender pay inequities, increase transparency, and protect employees from pay discrimination. The law prohibits pay discrimination on the basis of sex, which the law defines as a person’s gender, or sex-plus-protected-class status, which includes race and ethnicity differences.
The law requires equitable compensation, without regard to sex or sex combined with race or ethnicity, for substantially similar work measured in terms of skill, effort, and responsibility, regardless of job title. The law, however, allows for pay differences when the difference can be attributed to an employee’s job-related experience or education, as well as where the difference is attributed to the operation of a seniority system, merit system, or a system that measures quantity or quality of production, among other factors.
Throughout 2021, members of the Provost’s Office, the Office of Data Analytics, the deans, Human Resources, and campus financial units worked together to identify protected-class gender and race and ethnicity salary inequities under the law’s provisions. We are grateful to everyone who helped the university complete this analysis, as it was crucial not just to comply with the law, but also to advance our commitment toward implementing just and equitable practices across campus. Those employees whose salaries were identified as inequitable will receive salary increases beginning in their January 2022 paychecks.
For additional information, including how salary equity increases will be communicated to eligible employees, and to ask questions, please visit CU Boulder’s webpage dedicated to the Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act.
As part of understanding the salary concerns the university has addressed under the Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, it is important to understand what this law does not address.
- The law applies to salaries across campus, but it does not, however, compare salaries at CU Boulder to salaries paid for jobs outside of campus. In other words, the law does not require salary adjustments based on market forces.
- The law does not address pay differences that have resulted from salary compression affecting those who have been in their positions for longer periods of time.
We recognize these are very real concerns and that the university must address them as we move forward in our budgeting processes. CU Boulder has other processes and procedures in place for grievances and pay equity adjustments for faculty and staff whose salary differentials are not attributable to factors covered under the Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act’s requirements.
For more detailed information on CU Boulder’s process for compliance with the Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, see an explanation of the process used to review faculty salaries and an explanation of the process used for staff salaries.
The salary adjustments that we’ve described above are important, but they do not represent an end point in our efforts to ensure that the university complies with the Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act. And, as we discussed above, we also need to address other compensation concerns.
Here are some of the actions we’ll be taking to address those concerns:
- CU Boulder is updating several compensation-related policies and procedures for faculty and staff to provide additional pay-setting guidance and requirements. These policies and procedures will be implemented during the next several months.
- For staff, Human Resources will soon publish university staff pay ranges, similar to classified staff pay ranges, along with guidance on how to use pay ranges when setting salaries for new hires and promotions.
- Human Resources will also be communicating a new process for announcing promotions under the Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act’s requirements.
The salary analysis conducted to comply with the Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act is merely the first phase of a more comprehensive salary analysis to be conducted during spring semester 2022 and academic year 2022–23. That analysis will examine market forces and salary compression for staff and faculty. It will also address promotion increments and retention offer practices and processes specific to faculty. The Provost’s Office, the schools and colleges, departments and programs, and every other academic primary unit will also partner to review annual merit evaluation and salary allocation procedures for faculty.
To keep employee pay competitive, campus leaders, Human Resources, the Provost’s Office and the Office of Data Analytics will continue to review salaries and market trends as part of the annual compensation increase exercise. As budget funding becomes available, we will prioritize our investment in our employees.
In closing, we’re grateful to everyone who made it possible for us to provide the salary adjustments under the Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, and we know that we have more work ahead to fulfill our commitment to create equity in the work experience of our faculty, staff, and students. We’ll continue those efforts with focus, energy, and enthusiasm.
Chief Operating Officer