2015 Legislative Update for Arizona and Colorado

LegislativeArticle.BlogThe following legislation will affect Arizona employers in 2015. Colorado had several bills that failed in the 2015 session, although they may reappear in 2016. These bills are briefly outlined in the Colorado portion, below.

Arizona Legislative Wrap-Up for 2015

Arizona Fingerprint Clearance Cards legislation (HB 2086) made changes to the existing statute for employment purposes. These changes affect individuals who work with vulnerable populations and public protection services. No criminal history information is to be disclosed to individuals other than to verify employment. Notification to the applicant or current fingerprint clearance cardholder (FCC) is required should the information deny, suspend, or revoke a clearance. This legislation became effective March 30, 2015.

On April 6, 2015, the current veterans’ preference employment statute, which previously applied only to state and political subdivision employers, was expanded by HB 2094 to allow private employers to adopt the current preferential points system in the employment process.

Effective March 30, 2015, Arizona’s HB 2331 requires workers’ compensation claimants to acknowledge through a signed document that they are aware false statements of earnings are subject to penalties, fines, and forfeiture of benefits.

HB 2347, regarding unemployment insurance and base period notices, specifies that all base-period employers will be sent a notice when a claimant files a payable claim, unless the employer had been previously notified of the unemployment claim. Contents of the notice are outlined in the statute that took effect when signed by the governor on April 6, 2015.

Colorado Legislative Wrap-Up for 2015

It was a tumultuous 2015 legislative session as each house submitted ambitious employment-related bills, none of which reached the governor’s desk. These bills will not become law, although they may be reintroduced in the 2016 session.

The Family and Medical Leave Insurance Act (“FAMLI”) (H.B. 15-1258) would have created an employee-funded, state-administered paid leave program that covered all employers in Colorado. A new division in the Colorado Department of Labor would have administered the leave program along with a solvency surcharge to be paid should the program become financially unsupportable. It was undetermined whether the employer or the employee would pay the surcharge.

Local Government Minimum Wage (H.B. 15-1300) would have allowed local cities and municipalities to increase the minimum wage to an amount higher than the state or federal minimum wage.

The Colorado Overtime Fairness for Employment Act (H.B. 15-1331) would have increased the minimum salary rate for exempt employees to three times the minimum wage, making the minimum annual salary at least $51,355.20 for each exempt employee. This amount would have increased automatically each year, as it was tied to the state adjusted minimum wage. Restrictions on the director of labor’s ability to grant an exemption were also placed in the bill.

The Personnel File Right of Inspection bill (HB15-1342) would have allowed private-sector workers to inspect their personnel files one time each calendar year within 30 days of a written request. It also allowed the employee to provide written responses to adverse entries in his or her file. Civil remedies of not more than $10,000 would have been available to employees where an employer failed to comply with the request.

Parental Leave to expire September 1, 2015

In the 2009 Colorado legislative session, the Parental Involvement bill (H.B. 09-1057) passed both houses and was signed by Gov. Bill Ritter in order to afford parents the opportunity to attend academic activities of their children or legal charges. This bill contained a sunset provision requiring the law to be renewed to prevent it from expiring. In the 2015 legislative session, an unsuccessful attempt was made to continue this leave. This means the law will sunset on September 1, 2015 and will no longer provide time off to employees.

Finally, workers’ compensation health-care provider choices changed on April 1, 2015. Legislation passed in 2014 (H.B. 14-1383) now requires an employer or insurer to provide at least four separate and independent physicians or medical providers to the injured employee. The employee, from the provided list, selects the treating physician. Exceptions exist for rural areas with limited providers within 30 miles of the employer’s place of business.