DENVER, Colo. (June 17, 2020) — Sherman & Howard associate Joseph Hunt was quoted in a recent Law Week Colorado article regarding a flurry of proposed employment-related legislation.

The article highlights Senate Bill 207, which expands unemployment eligibility for several groups of workers. The bill directs the state’s unemployment insurance division to consider whether compliance with public health guidelines on disease mitigation and workplace safety may impact a worker’s decision to leave employment or refuse new work. Hunt says he anticipates an increase in unemployment insurance premiums for employers.

“Unemployment has and will continue to reduce payroll, which will also reduce the number of premiums available to the program,” he said. “This is going to increase costs for many employers, and there’s going to be a significant strain on the system.”

Additionally, House Bill 1415 addresses whistleblower protections during public emergencies. While many of the protections in the bill are present under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, HB 1415 provides a private right of action so workers can take their employers to court after exhausting administrative remedies. Senate Bill 205 requires employers to offer up to 48 hours of paid sick leave to workers.

“These bills are shifting costs to employers and insurance companies in order to protect employees as a matter of policy,” Hunt said. “I think the takeaway from these bills is that they propose expanded benefits to workers, they streamline claims for benefits and offer greater protections for employees who voice complaints about workplace safety.”

The full article was published in the June 15, 2020 edition of Law Week Colorado (subscription required).