A bill that the Arvada Chamber has taken a position on is House Bill 23-1118 titled “Fair Workweek Employment Standards.” The bill seeks to create a predictable work schedule for the unpredictable nature of business for all food and beverage businesses and companies with more than 250 employees, including retail and franchises. The bill takes aim at how an employer schedules employees, makes changes to their work schedule and posting of changes to a work schedule. In addition, the bill also sets forth a number of provisions around how, when and how much an employee is paid.
Through our Business Pulse surveys, the Arvada Chamber knows that businesses are already struggling with hiring and retaining employees, especially in retail and the food and beverage industry. This bill dramatically limits flexibility for both employer and employee when it comes to creating a work schedule. For example, the bill will make it illegal for an employer to make changes to a worker’s schedule if the employee refuses the schedule change. In addition, if the employer tries to find another worker to fill the shift, the employer can be fined for doing so.
In its current form, the bill makes it illegal for an employer to pursue any disciplinary action for an employee who has requested a schedule change that includes reasons such as sexual harassment, drunk on the job, not showing up for work or calling in. This bill is full of litigation traps and it incentivizes lawsuits. Further, the proposed solutions in the bill and penalties for a scheduling violation are harsher than the administrative and civil penalties for racial or gender discrimination.
The bottom line is if the Fair Scheduling bill passes as it is written now, it will hurt workers. Solving this problem by fining employers for shortfalls in scheduling is not the answer and could ultimately lead to further uncertainty for employers and employees. Colorado employers will be highly incentivized to automate, refuse to hire employees without proven job experience or simply refuse to service retail or food/beverage companies in order to avoid the inevitable lawsuits this bill sets up.
The Arvada Chamber has taken a position to oppose the bill as currently introduced, joining the Colorado Chamber of Commerce and others across the state in an effort to work with the bill sponsors to make changes to a number of provisions that could cause adverse harm and impact to employers. With the bill introduced, and conversations happening daily at the Capitol, the Arvada Chamber seeks the active participation of our members to improve this bill with proposed amendments, providing testimony at public hearings and help our KAPS Council understand other potential challenges to local businesses if this bill becomes law.
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