Agriculture Labor Rights and Responsibilities
On June 25, 2021, Senate Bill 21-087 (“SB87”), on agricultural labor rights and responsibilities(opens in new window), was signed into law by Governor Jared Polis. SB87 took effect as law immediately upon being signed, with provisions taking effect with varied dates, and with the CDLE Division of Labor Standards and Statistics tasked with adopting and publishing rules to implement and enforce SB87. After eight months of public outreach, stakeholder engagement, and rulemaking processes, the Division adopted all rules by January 31, 2022, and then published guidance on SB87 and those rules by February 28, 2022.
The bill gives farm workers the right to organize or join labor unions, earn state minimum wage and overtime pay. It would also protect workers and whistleblowers from retaliation for reporting abuse, among its long list of provisions, including; overtime pay; minimum wages; breaks; heat illness and injury; worker’s access to service providers.
Colorado Livestock Association, along with several of the state agriculture organizations negotiated with the sponsors and stakeholders to improve the clarity of the bill and remove portions that were unworkable. There are still many problematic provisions in the language of the bill that need to be addressed. For more information, visit cdle.colorado.gov/agricultural-labor-rights-and-responsibilities.
Key Service Provider Access Lawsuit
Since the enactment of Senate Bill 21-087, there has been confusion and instances of individuals entering private property and businesses under the auspices of providing services to those employed on-premises. CLA along with other agricultural associations are providing clarifying literature that can be used in postings on-site and in conversations with employees and Key Service Providers (KSPs) or those seeking entrance on farms and businesses. Most importantly, farms need to create their own plans for directing this sort of foot traffic to ensure the safety of the employees, animals and visitors.
CLA offers “Biosecure” signage to its members to serve as a visual aid to those entering businesses where agriculture production takes place and that there are certain risks associated with entering your private place of business. CLA recommends that employers post signs at all driveways and other entrances to the property stating that all visitors must check-in at the farm or ranch office if there is one. CLA has signs in English and Spanish available for its membership and additional signs also for purchase. Additional “No Trespassing” signs are strongly encouraged, as well, as they too, still hold limited legal defensibility in court. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to request a set.
Additionally, CLA and other agricultural organizations are in the process of challenging the constitutionality of this provision in law. Given the nature of takings and the application of laws in this pretense, compensation should be required by the enacting government entity.
Labor and Employment Compliance Guide
CLA has developed a Labor and Employment Compliance Guide for livestock producers. The guide, compiled under the guidance of attorneys from Range, PC, covers important topics for all Colorado livestock producers, including background information and what employers are required to do regarding the areas of:
– Wage and Hour Recordkeeping Requirements
– Colorado Minimum Wage
– Colorado Agriculture Overtime
– Mandatory Meal Breaks, Rest Breaks, Extended Meal Breaks, and Additional Paid Breaks
– Paid Sick Leave
– Vacation and PTO
To request a copy of the guide please email email@example.com.
Colorado Compact Charter Member
CLA was an original signatory on the Colorado Compact, a bi-partisan effort to find a solution to immigration reform for Colorado businesses. CLA continues to be engaged with this group and is a member of the Colorado Business Coalition for Immigration Solutions.
The Colorado Business Coalition for Immigration Solutions is a statewide group of more than 45 businesses, industry, and trade organizations dedicated to making the economic case for a modernized immigration system. Members are guided by the tenets of the Colorado Compact, a set of key principles outlining the need for smart federal and statewide immigration policies that ensure the future growth and stability of Colorado’s economy.
To learn more visit www.cocompact.org.
Properly managing your employee files is important to your business. CLA has many resources available to help you get your HR concerns and questions taken care of. Please call or email the CLA office for assistance with your HR needs. CLA members may contact us for assistance putting together an employee handbook and job descriptions or other policies and procedures for their farm or ranch. We also have up-to-date labor posters available for all members that cover the posting requirements for agriculture.