Government & Politics  February 14, 2023

Estes chamber opposes Fair Workweek Employment Standards bill

ESTES PARK – The executive committee of the Estes Chamber of Commerce has voted to join the Colorado Chamber of Commerce in opposing state House Bill 1118, the “Fair Workweek Employment Standards” bill.

The unanimous vote came at the committee’s meeting on Feb. 7.

Under its language, the bill would impose 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 those schedules.

SPONSORED CONTENT

Business Cares: May 2024

As Mental Health Awareness Month unfolds in Colorado, it serves as a reminder of the collective responsibility to prioritize mental well-being.

In addition to pay for hours worked by the employee, the bill would require 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 would prohibit employers from discriminating or taking 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 would prohibit retaliation against an employee for attempting to exercise any right created in the bill.

Employers would be required to retain records demonstrating their compliance with the requirements of the bill.

A person affected by a violation of the requirements of the bill could file a complaint with the division of labor standards and statistics in the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment or bring a civil action in district court. The division would be 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 would also be 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 would be required to promulgate rules to implement the bill.

HB 1118 will come before the House Business Affairs and Labor committee at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, and language may be changed as it wends its way through the Legislature.

According to a statement issued Tuesday by the Estes Chamber, “Estes Park is a seasonal town supported by a diverse group of entrepreneurs and small businesses that would be negatively impacted by HB23-1118. The Estes Chamber of Commerce joins the Colorado Chamber and the Colorado Restaurant Association in the opposition of HB23-1118.

Melissa Strong, owner of the Bird’s Nest and Bird & Jim restaurants in Estes Park, asked the Chamber to oppose the bill.

“The nature of restaurant work and the reason we can attract employees is the flexible schedule,” she said. “The majority of our employees work in the restaurant business because of the flexible schedule. HB 23-1118 penalizes me for staffing up or down due to things outside my control. Estes Park is growing in the off season, but we still dramatically slow down in the winter. “HB 23-1118 would cost businesses more money for administrative resources to create schedules 21 days in advance.”

The Colorado Chamber announced its opposition to the bill in a Jan. 26 press release.

“Businesses have a choice in where they can locate, expand and invest – and we want them to choose Colorado,” said Loren Furman, Colorado Chamber president and CEO. “But for years, business leaders have been telling us that Colorado’s increasingly complex and costly regulatory climate is hurting our competitiveness. HB 1118 is precisely the type of proposal we’re talking about when we caution lawmakers about the consequences of their policies. The harsh reality of this bill is that it will lead to fewer available jobs for workers, lower pay and less flexibility – all while driving businesses out of the state. As written, it’s the most punitive of its kind in the country and the Colorado Chamber will utilize all resources available to oppose it.”

Sign up for BizWest Daily Alerts