The bill, known as the "Corporate Responsibility Act", creates the employment-related public benefits enterprise (enterprise) as a government-owned business and type 1 agency within the department of health care policy and financing (HCPF). The enterprise has the business purpose of improving the health of the pool of workers for low-wage employment and their families and thereby benefitting low-wage employers by giving them access to a healthier pool of workers. The board of directors of the enterprise (board) consists of 7 members appointed by the governor: 2 who are representatives of employers; 2 who are representatives of organized labor; one who is employed and is receiving assistance under a state-subsidized health care assistance program; one who represents a nonprofit organization that provides health care services to low-income individuals; and one who represents a nonprofit organization that advocates in support of health care services for low-income individuals. Various powers of the enterprise are specified.
On and after January 1, 2017, the enterprise must impose an employment-related public benefits fee (fee) based on a per-hour worked basis for each employee of a low-wage employer that employs 250 or more employees in Colorado, but a low-wage employer may credit health care expenditures to or on behalf of a low-wage employee against the public benefits fee for each low-wage employee's hours. The enterprise must set the fee in an amount that is reasonably calculated to reflect the benefit received by such employers from the provision of state-subsidized health care program assistance to low-wage employees in the state and the costs to the state of providing that assistance but is neither less than 25 cents nor more than one dollar per hour worked. So long as the enterprise meets the constitutional requirements for enterprise status under the taxpayer's bill of rights, fee revenue does not count against the state fiscal year spending limit.
The employment-related public benefits fee fund (fund) is created in the state treasury, and all fee revenue and interest and income derived from the deposit and investment of the fund is credited to the fund. The enterprise may expend money from the fund to support and improve health care services provided to individuals who are eligible to receive services under the "Colorado Medical Assistance Act" and to defray its administrative expenses in implementing and administering provisions of the bill. It is prohibited to transfer money in the fund to any other state fund or department or agency of state government.
Employers are prohibited from taking various specified actions, including the discharge of low-wage employees during a specified period following the implementation of the fee, for the purpose of avoiding or reducing their liability for the fee. Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees for whistleblowing or taking various other specified actions relating to implementation or enforcement of the bill, such retaliation is defined as an unfair employment practice, and an employee retaliated against may file a complaint with the Colorado civil rights division. The attorney general and district attorneys are concurrently responsible for the enforcement of the "Corporate Responsibility Act".