On average, 112 occupational deaths occur in Colorado annually, and thousands of workers are injured or become sick from work-related exposure, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. As businesses prepare to reopen, Durango’s face-covering order has been extended indefinitely to curb the second wave of the coronavirus outbreak. Meanwhile, Democrat lawmakers emphasize that protecting essential workers in retail and service industries should be a priority. State officials are also pushing for measures that protect workers from bosses who discriminate and retaliate against them when they raise concerns about health and safety at the workplace.
The state Senator, a Lakewood Democrat, Brittany Pettersen, said, “This is not common, but they want to make sure that employees are protected during this time.” In fact, earlier this month, legislators also debated on making paid sick leave a right for all workers.
Proposed Bills to Protect Employee Rights
The proposed bills intend to protect worker’s rights during a public health crisis like the COVID-19. Under these bills, workers can voluntarily wear personal protective equipment such as gloves, masks, and face shields. They can also raise concerns regarding workplace safety and health practices, and risks without fear of being fired. According to Pettersen, the proposed policy will ensure workers go to work and hold discussions if they feel unsafe. The bill also allows employers to share their opinions if an employer doesn’t follow the set health and safety rules.
Workers Can File Complaint Against Their Employers
Besides highlighting workplace health risks, workers have the right to sue employers who don’t adhere to the current occupational health and safety guidelines. The new bill creates room for employees who face discrimination and punishment for discussing hazards at the job site to file complaints with the labor authorities. Law experts at JJS believe that preventable injury can have a devastating impact on your life. By taking legal action, workers can protect their workplace rights and create safe work environments.
Employers to Provide Paid Sick Leave
Aside from declaring the right to paid sick time off, employees will receive one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked annually. Party leaders say the paid sick leave bill focuses on the health and safety of ensuring people resume work responsibly. The proposal further declares that paid sick time requirements increase to 80 hours for employees who work 40 or more hours per week. However, this would be viable in the event the federal, local, or state authorities announce a public health emergency.
In most cases, the fear of losing employment limits employees from holding a conversation about personal protective gear shortage and job safety. Under the proposed bills, workers will have the freedom to talk about workplace safety and health. They will also enjoy at least one hour of paid sick leave. The state will reinstate or rehire workers who are fired or lose income due to the employer’s violation of health and safety rules.