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Nearly 300 jobs not open to Colorado remote workers because of new wage law

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Robert Davis | The Center Square contributor

(The Center Square) – Nearly 120 companies are avoiding hiring remote workers in Colorado because of the state’s new wage law, according to data collected by the website Colorado Excluded.

Senate Bill 19-085, known as the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, went into effect on January 1, 2021. It requires employers to post a salary range for all of their open job descriptions, something proponents argued would provide wage transparency. Companies can be fined between $5,000 and $10,000 for each sustained claim against them, according to the bill.

Colorado Excluded has confirmed 292 jobs that are no longer available to state residents because of the law. Listings submitted by users were manually verified by the website.

The story was first reported last month by The Wall Street Journal, which found several instances where companies explicitly denied remote employment opportunities to candidates living in Colorado.

WSJ reported that Johnson & Johnson posted an opening for a senior operations manager that included the caveat: “Work location is flexible if approved by the Company except that position may not be performed remotely from Colorado.”

Accenture, one of the largest professional services companies in the world, is excluding Colorado workers from 30 jobs, according to Colorado Excluded. In one posting for a project manager, the company said the position wasn’t available in Colorado “unless expressly indicated.”

Jon Caldara, president of the Independence Institute, a free enterprise think tank, said the law is another example of Governor Jared Polis's policies damaging jobs in Colorado.

“[Polis is] targeting industries to kill, like oil and gas, raising taxes by $600 million a year without voter approval by calling them fees, and unleashing a regulatory tsunami on employers, all strike at the very economic viability of this once great state,” Caldara said in an email. “And most sadly it is hurting Colorado families, many who must flee to less punitive states for a job.”