Romer: The reality of fair scheduling
The Colorado legislature reconvened last month, and our elected officials will spend the next few months reviewing bills, attending committee meetings, and representing Eagle County and the state of Colorado to the best of their abilities.
At the Vail Valley Partnership, we’ll be watching intently with a goal to advance issues of importance to our businesses and our community and rely on the government to carry out its roles for good public policy. Our strategic priorities provide some of the most visible evidence of our role as the voice for business — we’re advocating for affordable and attainable housing and working to ensure the needs of our business community are understood at the state capital.
Vail Valley Partnership has joined a growing coalition of diverse business and industry groups opposed to House Bill 1118, the fair workweek scheduling bill. The chamber has raised concerns that the proposal would have negative impacts on our workers and our businesses and hurt our economic competitiveness.
This lengthy bill imposes requirements on certain employers, including retail shops and restaurants, regarding employee work schedules and pay. Provisions include detailed requirements and timelines for posting work schedules, for employers or employees making changes to shifts or trading shifts, as well as a variety of fees for making changes to work schedules and minimum weekly pay, regardless of whether an employee works anticipated hours. This would greatly reduce the flexibility for workers to change, adjust, or trade shifts within two weeks.
Specifically, HB23-1118 imposes broad new regulations and restrictions on how employers manage employee workweek schedules and pay. Under the bill, employers would be required to release all work schedules at least two weeks in advance and provide predictability pay to workers. It would impact thousands of public and private employers across the state, creating inflexible requirements that fail to consider the basic operational needs of businesses and the nature of unpredictable industries.
Support Local Journalism
Among other provisions, the draft bill provides that an employer shall provide notice of employees’ work schedules, and changes as follows:
- Requires providing a work schedule 14 days in advance
- Employers must revise, in writing, any change to a work schedule within 24 hours of making the change
- Requires paying employees a full hour for any amount of time added to a shift and paying two hours for any amount of time subtracted from a shift, or when there is a change to the date or time of the shift
- Prohibits employers from scheduling employees to work another shift beginning less than 12 hours after ending their last shift. An employee can waive this in writing up to 48 hours before their shift.
- Provides overtime-like pay (1.5 times the regular pay rate) for hours an employee works within 12 hours of the last shift
- Requires posting available hours for 4 days to fill the shifts, rather than hiring another employee.
It is nearly impossible for employers to determine staffing needs two weeks in advance. Fluctuations in business are typical: emergencies, weather conditions, and unexpected absences. Research has shown that penalizing employers for adjusting schedules less than two weeks in advance incentivizes them to schedule fewer workers for shifts to avoid potential penalties.
The diverse coalition of more than 45 business groups in opposition reflects the sweeping nature of HB23-1118. These punitive new scheduling requirements would be felt not only by the hospitality industry, but also health care providers, public entities like schools, social service providers, and more. We encourage our elected officials to oppose this bill.
Chris Romer is president & CEO of Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at VailValleyPartnership.com