In this Capitol Report:
- New Overtime Rule Finalized with Some Changes for Business Community
- Proponents File Ballot Initiatives for a Mandated Paid Family Leave Program
- Labor and Employment Council Votes to Oppose HB 1089, SB 93
- Policy Council Meeting Schedule
- Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Compliance Toolkit for Small Businesses
New Overtime Rule Finalized with Some Changes for Business Community
The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) adopted a new overtime and minimum pay rule this week after 10 months of receiving feedback from stakeholders, including the Colorado Chamber and other business groups. The Colorado Chamber raised significant concerns regarding the new burden it would pose on employers, however, the final version is a significant improvement from previous drafts of the proposed rule.
In November 2019, the Colorado Chamber submitted formal comments to CDLE on the previous version of the rule outlining specific concerns with the proposal, including the minimum salary threshold and implementation timeline. The Chamber recommended that CDLE consider lowering the exempt salary thresholds and shifting the implementation timeline so that businesses would have more time to adjust to the changes.
In response to feedback from the business community, CDLE lowered and slowed the salary phase-in. Originally, the rule would have set the minimum overtime exempt salary threshold at $42,500 starting this year. The updated rule instead sets the starting salary threshold at $35,568 for the rest of this year, which aligns with the current federal amount, then $40,500 in January 2021. It will gradually increase each year to reach $55,000 in 2024.
Proponents File Ballot Initiatives for a Mandated Paid Family Leave Program
The proponents of a state mandated paid family and medical leave insurance program filed two ballot initiatives this week that would ask Colorado voters to approve a paid family leave program. These are the same proponents of the paid family leave legislation that was attempted during the 2019 Legislative Session. Those behind the ballot initiatives have stated that they are only filing these “in case” the legislature fails to pass a bill to create a paid family leave program. Business groups have questioned why the proponents are seeking to put pressure on members of the Legislature to adopt a complicated program that requires a payroll deduction by all workers.
Loren Furman, Senior Vice President of State and Federal Relations with the Colorado Chamber, said in a statement:
“Five legislative sessions and an interim task force have demonstrated that this issue is complex and any new policy on family and medical leave should strike a balance between businesses and employees. These ballot initiatives, however, reflect the same stale approach that has failed with the legislature time and time again. A payroll tax on every worker and business in the state will hurt the very people this policy is intended to help – especially small businesses and Coloradans living paycheck-to-paycheck. We will continue to push for a more measured, balanced approach to providing paid leave to those that need it while minimizing the negative consequences.”
For additional reading on the topic, see the Denver Business Journal.
Labor and Employment Council Votes to Oppose HB 1089, SB 93
The Colorado Chamber’s Labor and Employment Council this week voted to oppose two bills, HB 1089 by Rep. Jovan Melton and SB 93 by Sen. Mike Foote, Sen. Stephen Fenberg, and Rep. Dominique Jackson.
HB 1089 seeks to prohibit employers from terminating employees for recreational marijuana use off-duty. Members of the Colorado Chamber are concerned that this bill could jeopardize the safety of employees, particularly in certain industries that require the operation of high-risk equipment, like oil and gas or mining. The business community needs the flexibility to implement zero-tolerance drug policies in the workplace.
SB 93 relates to the Dispute Resolution Fairness Act and changes arbitration statutes. Some of the new definitions in the bill, however, are problematic for businesses, including the overly broad definition of what constitutes an employee.
The Colorado Chamber’s government affairs team will continue to work with lawmakers to improve these bills over the legislative session.
The Labor and Employment Council also heard from Katherine Keegan, Director of the Office of the Future of Work at the Colorado Department of Labor & Employment. Keegan discussed the need to think about what jobs and workplace will look like in the future with globalization, shifting market forces, technological transformation and demographic shifts occurring nationally and around the world. The Office of Future Work was created to raise awareness and identify policy and program solutions to these complex issues.
For those interested in learning more about the Office of the Future of Work can contact Katherine Keegan directly at Katherine.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Policy Council Meeting Schedule
Sponsoring a Policy Council meeting puts you front and center with key legislators, government officials, and Colorado Chamber members.
The following Councils are available to all our members:
- Energy and Environment Council
- HealthCare Council
- Labor and Employment Council
- Governmental Affairs Council
- Tax Council
Each Council will meet at noon at the Colorado Chamber of Commerce office throughout the session. Lunch is served at each meeting. Sponsorship of council meetings by our members is crucial to maintaining the practice of providing lunch during these important council meetings. We need sponsors for every meeting, so we would like to encourage members to sign up now to sponsor a lunch! Sponsors receive recognition in both email reminders for the meeting and our online Events Calendar, as well as during the meeting. The Colorado Chamber of Commerce does all of the ordering and setup of the lunch and the sponsorship is always a flat rate of $650. Please contact Laura Moss for more details or to sign up as a sponsor. We appreciate your ongoing support!
Please see the below for specific dates for each council. Councils always meet from Noon to 1:15 p.m. in our conference room at 1600 Broadway, Suite 1000.
2020 Council Meeting Dates
Energy & Environment Council:
January 29, 2020
February 25, 2020
March 24, 2020
April 29, 2020
Governmental Affairs Council:
January 28, 2020
February 11, 2020
March 31, 2020
April 27, 2020
January 16, 2020
February 13, 2020
March 12, 2020
April 16, 2020
Labor & Employment Council:
January 22, 2020
February 19, 2020
March 18, 2020
April 22, 2020
January 17, 2020
February 7, 2020
March 6, 2020
April 17, 2020
Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Compliance Toolkit for Small Businesses
January 28, 2020
1:00 PM – 5:30 PM (reception to follow)
Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center, 1300 Broadway
Join the Office of the Colorado Attorney General, the Attorney General Alliance, and the National Cybersecurity Center for an engaging discussion on the best practices for small and mid-sized businesses to comply with federal and state data privacy and cybersecurity laws.
This half-day event will feature two panel discussions, two interactive break-out sessions, and a keynote address by the Colorado Attorney General. The panels and break-out sessions will address cybersecurity and privacy laws that apply to small and mid-sized businesses, the threats small and mid-size businesses face and how best to prepare and respond to security incidents, and a conversation about how companies can build a culture of cybersecurity awareness and compliance.
Speakers and moderators (listed here) include leaders in cybersecurity and data privacy practices from Colorado’s business, legal, government, and technology communities.