Fair Workweek Bill Fails in Colorado Legislature

March 21, 2023

By: Colin A. Walker

House Bill 23-1118, the Fair Workweek Employment Standards Act, failed in a hearing before the House Business Affairs & Labor Committee. The bill would have imposed a number of difficult requirements on covered employers regarding scheduling and hiring including:

  • Establishing an “anticipated work plan” for each employee which sets forth when the employee can expect to work;
  • Minimum weekly pay of 15% of the average weekly hours in the anticipated work plan;
  • “Predictability Pay” of one hour of time if an employer added time to a shift or changed the location of the shift and two hours if it subtracted from a shift or changed the date of a shift without the employee’s consent unless the employee requests the change;
  • A requirement of the employer filling hours with existing employees before hiring a new employee;
  • If the employer failed to fill the hours with an existing employee before hiring a new employee, the employer would have to pay “Retention Pay” of the hours worked by the new employee which the existing employee could have worked at the existing employee’s regular rate for 6 months beginning on the date of the new hire;
  • Whistleblower/retaliation provisions with stiff penalties and a private right of action for employees, including a rebuttable presumption that if an employer takes any negative action against an employee within 90 days of the date that the employee complained about an alleged violation of the law that the employer has retaliated.

The law would have applied to retail and restaurant employers with 250 or more employees and certain contractors, such as janitorial and security services, of such employers.

Many business and employer organizations, particularly in the restaurant industry, vigorously opposed this bill and showed up at the Business Affairs & Labor Committee hearing in strength, complaining that it would have had a crippling impact on employers’ ability to adapt to changing business circumstances and a disincentive to hiring. After lengthy proceedings, the bill failed on a vote of 8-2.

While this was a clear victory for business and employer organization, similar bills have been introduced in other states and it is possible that similar legislation will be proposed in Colorado in the future.