(June 5) – Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp’s bipartisan bill to prevent mandatory and excessive fines on small businesses and create protections for workers who are hurt on the job at a company that failed to obtain the required workers compensation coverage was signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper this afternoon.
“This is a win-win—it helps our small businesses and supports workers who are hurt on the job and need time to recover,” said Rep. Kraft-Tharp, D-Arvada. “Previously, small businesses that violated workers comp rules were slapped with massive fines. Unfortunately, what we saw is that this hurt small businesses and didn’t help employees hurt on the job access benefits for their injuries. This law fixes that by giving the Department of Labor some discretion for businesses that have violated the law by mistake. In addition, it supports workers by using the fines to provide assistance to employees who are hurt on the job at businesses without workers comp.”
HB17-1119 underwent extensive stakeholder work and gives the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment discretion to determine appropriate fines for companies failing to carry workers compensation coverage, rather than the automatic $250-a-day minimum fines that are currently required. The bill also uses the fines collected for these violations to create a fund to assist employees who suffer on-the-job injuries while working for companies violating the workers comp law by not carrying this coverage.