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Colorado labor department adopts new rules regarding equal pay, sick leave

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment adopted final versions of six sets of rules last Wednesday. This comes through the Division of Labor Standards and Statistics, which in August, gathered input from Coloradans before drafting any rules.

The division published the six sets of proposed rules in September, to which hundreds of Coloradans — from a broad range of sectors — submitted written testimony. Specifically, employers and employees wished legal requirements in the new laws to be specified with more clarity.

After review, the division adopted the rules, which include:

• Colorado's minimum wage to be set at $12.32 per hour, a 2.7% increase from last year ($12.00), effective 2021. (Colorado Constitution mandates an annual inflation adjustment based on the consumer price index.)

• Greater clarity on labor law, including the new paid sick days law and new equal pay law.

• Clarity under the new health emergency whistleblower and PPE law, which provides protections for employees and states “what ‘reasonable concerns’ employees now have a right to express, and when they have a right to wear PEE at work.”

• A new process created to resolve disputes between the state, union or its members under the new state employee union law.

The Division has posted the versions of the rules on its rulemaking webpage.

Employers and employees can ask questions about the new laws by contacting the department at 303-318-8400 or cdle_labor_standards@state.co.us.

Gov. Polis asks lawmakers to spend $1.3 billion on economic stimulus package

Last Thursday, Gov. Jared Polis, during a presentation of the 2021-2022 budget, said a $1.3 billion economic stimulus package would boost the state’s economy by 11% and create nearly 15,000 new jobs.

“We don’t just want to get back to where we were before the pandemic — we want to build back even stronger. Which is why this budget makes strategic investments to ensure we are more inclusive and more resilient. We need to be creative to find the ways to get the help to those who need it when they need it most and this budget is prudent and increases reserves for the uncertainty ahead. These times dictate urgency and we must continue building on our shared values of saving people money on health care, investing in education, fire resiliency, expanding renewable energy, and protecting our way of life,” Polis told the Joint Budget Committee.

Polis’ budget includes three elements that could boost the Colorado economy:

• Restoring major reductions made to key areas in fiscal year 2020-21, ensuring essential services across government

• Saving for the future

• An economic stimulus that would help Colorado build stronger over a period of time

The $1.3 billion package would invest in the state’s future and have a high economic impact, Polis’ proposal states.

Spending now will also alleviate any concerns in future fiscal years, according to Polis’ budget.

For more information on the budget and Polis’ spending plans, read the full proposal at colorado,gov/governor.

Josue Perez is a staff writer for the Montrose Daily Press

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