August 31, 2011
On November 1, Denver voters will be asked to decide if businesses in the city should be mandated to provide a specified level of sick and safe time benefits for their employees – be they part-time, full-time or temporary.
Initiative 300 may sound innocuous – as many of you already provide sick time or have a paid time off plan in place, and state statute provides safe time for those impacted by domestic violence – but this measure is troubling and worthy of your serious review.
Here are some key points to take into consideration:
A government-mandated sick leave policy removes the ability of a business to be innovative in meeting the needs of both the company and its employees. If passed, this measure will put in place a one-size-fits-all approach that will be harmful particularly to small businesses, the backbone of our economy, by removing flexibility and adding to their labor costs. In fact, 98 percent of Colorado businesses have fewer than 100 employees.
The devil is always in the details, and this proposal is no different. Companies that provide benefit packages that meet or exceed the proposed 72 hours for businesses with 10 or more employees, or 40 hours for 10 employees or less, would still be required to meet additional record-keeping guidelines and be prepared to produce documents, if the city authority charged with monitoring the program wishes to check compliance. In addition, companies that have multiple business locations throughout the metro area would now have differing rules for their workers in Denver.
It doesn’t stop there. If, by chance, you have a business that is outside of Denver, but you have employees who are in the city for a mere40 hours per year, you are required to comply with the law. Imagine the headache – and legal consequences – of implementing more generous leave policies for your employees who do some work in Denver versus those employees working anywhere else in the region, state or country.
We all know that no city is an island, but policies like Initiative 300 – which put one municipality (Denver in this instance) at a disadvantage with its neighbors by creating an unfriendly business climate – are measures the Chamber will not support.We have worked hard to create a regional economic development strategy. Ballot proposals from out-of-state groups, such as this one, hurt those efforts.
To add fuel to the fire, the City of Denver must administer and enforce this program. This requirement may very well be one of the reasons Mayor Hancock opposes this initiative: He’s working right now to create a balanced budget for Denver, and this type of initiative only exacerbates his ability to deliver those critical city services during these difficult economic times.
For these reasons, the Denver Metro Chamber has taken a position to oppose Initiative 300 and is working to ensure its defeat. Keep Denver Competitive is the campaign entity established for this important effort. We urge you to go to the website to learn more, request a speaker to come talk to your organization, or contribute to the campaign. We need your help to ensure Denver voters understand the true impact of this proposal.
If you do business in Denver, or are a Denver resident, Keep Denver Competitive would like you to consider taking a brief survey regarding your knowledge on Initiative 300.
We will continue to provide you campaign updates in the days to come. Join us to ensure we Keep Denver Competitive.