A number of new state laws and regulations—some of which are of significant interest to Colorado’s business community—went into effect on January 1, 2022.
Non-Bank Mortgage Servicer Oversight
With banks proactively shrinking their collective presence in the mortgage market, non-bank lenders service more than half of the residential mortgage loans in Colorado. Those lenders are subject to a patchwork of federal regulations, but before this year there was not a single regulatory point of contact for non-bank mortgage lending in Colorado. Now there is. HB 21-1282, which took effect on January 1, allows the state attorney general’s office to impose notification, record keeping, reporting, examination, inspection, and other requirements on non-bank lenders consistent with existing federal laws. It further allows the attorney general to enforce violations through disgorgement and monetary penalties.
Consumer Friendly Subscription Contracts
HB21-1239, in effect as of January 1, imposes meaningful new requirements on “auto-renew” consumer contracts—i.e., any consumer purchase or subscription agreement that automatically beyond the original term of the contract. Under the law, businesses entering into such contracts with consumers must (1) provide “clear and conspicuous disclosure” of the important terms of the contract before the consumer commits; (2) obtain express written consent from the consumer to enter into a contract with a renewal period longer than one year; (3) provide written acknowledgement containing a simple, easy-to-use mechanism for cancelling the contract; and (4) provide notice, at least once per year, that the consumer is paying into an auto-renewing contract.
Broader Access to Paid Sick Leave
The Healthy Families and Workplaces Act, SB20-205, went into effect in 2021 for larger companies. As of January 1, 2022, it applies to all public and private employers without regard to how many employees they have. To comply with the law, companies must adopt leave policies that (1) provide paid leave at the same hourly rate the employee would earn if they were working; (2) meet certain administrative requirements (e.g., no waiting periods for use and accrual); (3) apply to all employees regardless of classification; and (4) allow employees to use paid leave for the purposes articulated in the law, including mental or physical illness or injury, caring for a family member, and obtaining preventative care.
No Use-It-Or-Lose-It Vacation or PTO
The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment promulgated a new regulation, effective January 1, that clarifies that any leave pay usable at an employee’s discretion (whether it is called vacation or paid time off) cannot be forfeited once it is accrued. The regulation is consistent with the Supreme Court of Colorado’s ruling last year in Nieto v. Clark’s Market, Inc. To avoid paying out substantial accrued leave time, employers will have to impose caps on accrual or adopt more flexible vacation and PTO policies.