Under the Dome: Fair Work Week Bill Faces Strong Business Opposition

Measure Scheduled for First Committee Hearing; Call Your Legislator

House Bill 1118, more recognizably known as the “Fair Work Week” bill, is facing strong opposition from the collective Colorado business community, including the Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance.  The NCLA joins Chambers of Commerce across state, industry organizations and the NFIB in standing firmly against the bill that dicates to employers operating with hourly employees how they schedule time, compensate for changes and guarantee minimum time. 

Leading the opposition are the trade associations directly in the cross hairs of the legislation — the Colorado Restaurant Association and the Colorado Retail Council.  Beyond restaurant and retail, however, the measure will have a broad reach affecting thousands of private and public employers by placing new restrictions on scheduling practices ultimately negatively affecting the very employees the bill intends to help. 

What does HB 1118 do?  The bill requires restaurants, retail and others to pay employees:

  • “Predictability” pay when changes are made in their work schedule,
  • “Rest shortfall” pay when they don’t have enough rest between shifts,
  • “Retention” pay if work hours are given to a new employee without first offering to them, and
  • “Minimum weekly” pay equal to 15% of average weekly hours. 

Amendment proposals by sponsors expand the reach of key sections of the measure to be applicable to all employers.

The NCLA is opposed to this measure as a significant overreach into the employer management of his business and operations with employees.

We invite our Chamber members to join the NCLA Board of Directors in reaching your legislator to convey your opposition to HB 23-1118.   Our position – and your talking points – are the following:

HB 1118 hurts small and independent business owners. The bill applies to small & independent businesses that have more than one location in CO.  The bill defines a “chain” as 2 or more food, beverage or retail establishments” that operate under the same trade name and branding features, regardless of the ownership type of each individual establishment. 

Required 14-Day notice of work schedule increases costs & hurts workers.  It is nearly impossible for employers to determine staffing needs 2 weeks in advance.  Fluctuations in business are typical.  Modifications offered by sponsors make exceptions for emergencies, weather conditions, and unexpected absences but the requirement remains overly onerous. Research has shown that penalizing employers for making adjustments less than 2 weeks in advance incentivizes them to schedule fewer workers for shifts to avoid potential penalties.

Creates inflexible requirements:  The bill requires an employee’s written consent for additional hours and shifts to be added to their schedule.  The provision creates burdens upon employees while removing flexibility for employers to meet the needs and unexpected demands in their business. 

Creates litigation for employers & employees:

  • To avoid discrimination claims, new accommodations are created that employers must meet that don’t align with existing discrimination laws
  • “Adverse action” definition conflicts with current laws creating a rebuttable presumption of retaliation if action occurs within 90 days of employee’s activity

Ultimately, employees lose under HB 1118.  

Employee’s experience in other states that have passed less onerous scheduling restrictions report hardships and limited opportunity as a result of the laws in their states.  Further, employees find the ability to hire new and talented staff is constrained as existing employees will receive hours of preference while new employees are left with less desireable shifts.  ‘

Call or write our Northern Colorado legislators to share your thoughts and opposition to HB 1118.

Rep. Jennifer Lea Parenti (Weld)                                 jennifer@parentiforcolorado.com                                          

Rep. Gabe Evans (weld)                                                gabe.evans.house@coleg.gov                                          

Rep. Judy Amabile (Larimer)                                     judy.amabile.house@coleg.gov                                          

  • Chair, House Business Affairs and Labor Committee                                                              

Rep. Mary Young (Weld)                                             

Rep. Cathy Kipp (larimer)                                                cathy.kipp.house@coleg.gov                                          

Rep. Andrew Boesenecker (Larimer)                         andrew.boesenecker.house@coleg.gov                                          

Rep. Ryan Armagost (Larimer)                                  ryan.armagost.house@coleg.gov                                          

Rep. Mike Lynch (Larimer)                                                mike.lynch.house@coleg.gov                                          

NCLA Tracking Report

On a bi-weekly basis, the NCLA Board reviews and considers its position on pending legislation.  See the NCLA 2023 Legislative Tracking Report for the list of bills, thus far introduced, in which the NCLA is engaged.


© 2023 Fort Collins, Greeley & Loveland Chambers of Commerce • Northern Colorado Economic Development Corp. • Upstate Colorado Economic Development