A bill introduced to the Colorado State Senate is receiving heavy opposition from groups that fear it will take away key workers’ rights.
The Marketplace Contractor Workers’ Compensation Unemployment bill seeks to establish a test to determine if marketplace contractors are covered under Colorado employment laws. The bill could redefine thousands of Colorado workers as independent contractors rather than employees.
The Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR), a Denver-based non-profit that advocates for the Latinx community, is strongly against this legislation.
COLOR fears this bill will misclassify certain workers, thereby making them ineligible for certain protections and rights under Colorado employment law.
“The fact is that people who are misclassified as independent contractors often have lower incomes and little economic security. Additionally, with the denial of access to employer sponsored health benefits and the lack of ability to pay for large out of pocket expenses or to be able to afford an individual plan, this bill would essentially take away health coverage from many families in our community,” said COLOR’s Policy and Program Director Karla Gonzales Garcia in a press release.
The bill defines a marketplace contractor as anyone that enters into a written agreement with a marketplace platform to use the platform’s online application, software, website, or system to receive service requests from third parties seeking the types of services offered by the contractor. Such platforms include Uber and Handy, for example.
Access to healthcare is just one thing these workers could lose if they’re reclassified as independent contractors.
“This bill means employers would not have to provide a minimum wage. They would not have to abide by laws around hours or scheduling. It would make people ineligible for employer-based health and pension plans thereby taking away a big part of the benefits that are provided to workers. It would take away access to paid family leave, paid sick leave and other types of family friendly workplace protections all in the name of saving companies a few bucks. It could also make it so that if someone is hurt on the job they cannot utilize workmen’s compensation,” said Garcia.
COLOR is not the only organization attempting to rally opposition to this bill. The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) has started an Action Network campaign to encourage Colorado constituents to call their representatives and ask them to oppose the bill. Learn more about this campaign here.
The bill passed in the Senate and currently awaits action in the House of Representatives.