Spring and legislation in the air

Dean Harris

After a snowy — at least by Grand Valley standards — winter, spring and proposed legislation are in the air.

The Colorado Legislature has introduced numerous bills that could affect employers. Here’s a look at a few of the most significant measures.

House Bill 23-1118 would have required predictive pay and scheduling by large retailers and employers in the food and beverage industry. What was dubbed as fair workweek employment standards measure was perhaps the most controversial labor and employment bill introduced this session, but failed to move out of committee on a bipartisan vote. I cover it briefly here because predictive scheduling bills are trending nationally. Some version of this bill will return.

Among many other provisions, this bill would have required employers to provide employees a written work plan addressing the employee scheduling and requiring payment when the actual schedule deviated from the work plan by more than 15 percent. The bill would have required employers to set employee schedules at least 14 days in advance and pay predictability pay in addition to wages for hours actually worked when the employer changed the date or time of a shift.

The measure alarmed restaurateurs, some of them still trying to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions. Restaurateurs asserted they would be able to adjust schedules or send home employees as customer traffic changed within the 14-day scheduling period or a single business day.

HB 23-1104 would have delayed implementation of the state’s paid family and medical leave law until Jan. 1, 2025. The bill was postponed indefinitely by a committee vote. FAMLI requires most private employers and public employers who don’t opt out of the program to fund and provide paid family and medical on Jan. 1, 2024.  Covered employers should already be withholding employee premiums. Employers with 10 or more employees should already be paying employer premiums. Any employers not yet doing so should consult legal counsel immediately to remedy this situation.

Senate Bill 23-098 would require transportation and delivery network companies operating in the state to provide various disclosures to their drivers and consumers about payments to the companies and drivers. In other words, what portion of the fees you pay for delivery services or ride sharing actually goes to the drivers. The definition of a transportation network company specifically excludes taxi companies and services providing fixed routes. But the definition of a delivery network company broadly includes “any person that sells delivered goods or services in the state and that connects consumers with delivery workers through a digital platform.” This arguably could apply to food establishments or other businesses that take orders online and use their own employees for deliveries. This bill continues to move forward, but hasn’t yet reached the full Senate.

SB 23-172 would expand coverage of the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act and make employers liable for a broader range of complaints. Among other provisions, the measure would repeal the current definition “harass” that requires creation of a hostile work environment and specifies in harassment claims the alleged conduct need not be severe or pervasive to constitute a discriminatory or unfair employment practice. This is broader than the standard under federal law and could result in liability for even sporadic or minor acts.

The Employers Council posts regular updates for its members on the status and anticipated effects of proposed legislation for its members. For more information on the history of these and other employment-related bills, all employers can visit https://leg.colorado.gov/bills.

The Employers Council has scheduled a free legal update and light breakfast for 8:30 to
10 a.m. March 16 at the Chipeta Golf Course Clubhouse at 222 29 Road in Grand Junction.

The event is open to Employers Council members and others. For additional information or reservations, send an email to dharris@employerscouncil.org.