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Fair Workweek Employment Standards Bill Gets Attention

(Denver, CO) -- Lawmakers are meeting in committee this week to focus on a bill that's getting a lot of attention. House Bill 23-1118 Concerning fair workweek employment standards will hear testimony from those for the bill and those against the bill in the Business Affairs and Labor committee Thursday at 1:30.



According to the legislation's fiscal note, a document that summarizes estimated costs to the state should the bill pass, the bill would create new labor standards that would mostly affect the restaurant industry, food and beverage and manufacturing. It would also require the state to spend more money should the bill became a law. And it would go into play as early as January of 2024.



The background on the bill shows that it would cover about 326,000 Colorado workers or about 14 percent of the labor force. Those numbers on the fiscal note were taken from the Colorado Labor Market Information Gateway for the North American Industry Classification System.


It's estimated using complaints filed under the Health Families and Workplaces Act that they could received about 60 complaints a year. They estimate that about 40 will need extra hours of investigation and as many as 20 could need follow up. This is where the increased costs are estimated. The expectation is that the bill could increase state costs. See the table below for the expected costs to the budget.






Here's a summary of the bill's text:


BILL SUMMARY

The bill imposes requirements for certain types of employers with regard to:

  • The determination of employee work schedules;

  • Employee requests for changes to work schedules; and

  • Notices and posting of employee work schedules.

In addition to pay for hours worked by the employee, the bill requires certain types of employers to pay employees:

  • Predictability pay when an employer makes certain changes to an employee's work schedule;

  • Rest shortfall pay when an employee is required to work hours without a minimum period of rest after a prior shift;

  • Retention pay when an employer provides work hours to a new employee without first offering the work hours to existing employees; and

  • Minimum weekly pay in an amount that corresponds to 15% of the average weekly hours indicated on the employee's anticipated work plan, paid at the greater of the employee's regular rate of pay or the minimum wage, regardless of whether the employee works such hours.

The bill prohibits employers from discriminating or taking any adverse action against an employee based on the hours an employee is scheduled or actually works, the expected duration of employment, or the employee's desired work schedule. The bill also prohibits retaliation against an employee for attempting to exercise any right created in the bill. Employers are required to retain records demonstrating their compliance with the requirements of the bill. A person who is aggrieved by a violation of the requirements of the bill may file a complaint with the division of labor standards and statistics (division) in the department of labor and employment or bring a civil action in district court. The division is authorized to investigate complaints and, upon determining that a violation occurred, to impose fines, penalties, or damages and award attorney fees and costs. The division is also authorized to bring a civil action to enforce the requirements of the bill. The bill includes protections for whistleblowers and establishes penalties for violations. The director of the division is required to promulgate rules to implement the bill.



There's opposition from the bill from the Colorado Freedom Force, in their most recent newsletter the group calls out the bill has having significant challenges for Colorado businesses. With new requirements of the bill relating to schedules, making sure the business accepts and accommodates an employees request for time off and mandating that businesses must pay workers a "rest shortfall."


Testimony from both sides will be presented this week, February 16th at 1:30 when the bill is heard in the Business Affairs and Labor Committee. You can listen live or to a recording from the Colorado General Assembly's website. Find it here. https://leg.colorado.gov/watch-listen


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