August 25, 2019

Colorado Court of Appeals: Claimant Not “Double Dipping” Because Would Not Be Collecting Both Unemployment and Retirement Benefits Based on Same Period of Work

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Hopkins v. Industrial Claim Appeals Office on December 22, 2011.

Unemployment Benefits—CRS § 8-73-110(3)(a)(I)(B).

In this unemployment benefits case, claimant sought review of a final order of the Industrial Claim Appeals Office (Panel). The order was set aside and the case was remanded with directions.

Claimant worked for employer, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, from June 1986 to July 31, 2001. Since August 1, 2001, claimant had been receiving a monthly pension payment of approximately $3,000. Claimant returned to work for employer on April 6, 2009 through August 4, 2009. During this period of employment, employer did not contribute to claimant’s pension plan, nor did claimant (nor did she have the right to).

Claimant established an initial claim for unemployment benefits on January 24, 2010, for a weekly benefit amount of $443, which was less than the weekly prorated amount of her pension. Claimant’s base period ran from October 1, 2008 through September 31, 2009. The hearing officer concluded that because employer did not contribute to claimant’s pension during her base period employment, no reduction of her unemployment benefits was required under CRS § 8-73-110(3)(a)(I)(B). The Panel reversed.

The Court of Appeals set aside the Panel’s decision as erroneous as a matter of law. The Colorado Employment Security Act is a part of a cooperative federal–state program administered under the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA). The offset requirements of CRS § 8-73-110(3)(a)(I)(B) are modeled on the analogous provisions of FUTA. The legislative history indicated this was Congress’ response to a concern over “double-dipping” by retirees who actually had withdrawn from the labor force and were being paid both unemployment and retirement benefits by the same employer.

Here, although employer had contributed to the pension claimant was receiving, employer did not contribute to claimant’s pension during the base period that is the subject of her current claim for unemployment benefits. Therefore, claimant would not be “double-dipping” because she would not be collecting both unemployment and retirement benefits based on the same period of work. The Panel’s order was set aside and the case was remanded to the Panel with directions to reinstate the hearing officer’s decision that no reduction in claimant’s unemployment benefits was required under CRS § 8-73-110(3)(a)(I)(B).

This summary is published here courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer. Other summaries for the Colorado Court of Appeals on December 22, 2011, can be found here.

Department of Labor and Employment Proposes Increase in Minimum Wage

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment has proposed to increase the minimum wage in Colorado. Pursuant to the inflation adjustment requirement of Article XVIII, Section 15, of the Colorado Constitution, the  state minimum wage will be raised to $7.64/hour and the state tipped employee minimum wage will be raised to $4.62/hour, effective January 1, 2012.

Current Colorado minimum wages are set at $7.36/hour and $4.34/hour for tipped employees.

A hearing on the amended rule will be held on Friday, November 4, 2011 at the Colorado Division of Labor, 633 17th Street, Second Floor, Denver, Colorado 80202, beginning at 2:00 pm.

Full text of the proposed rule change including line edits can be found here. Further information about the rule and hearing can be found here.

Department of Labor and Employment Proposes Changes to the Rules Regarding Unemployment Insurance

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment has proposed amendments to the rules regarding the administration of the “Colorado Employment Security Act.” The revisions address the following issues:

  • Amending the rules related to unemployment insurance appeals for clarity.
  • Amending the rules related to good cause for clarity.
  • Adopting rules allowing the Unemployment Insurance Program to fine an employer who is found to have willfully disregarded the law when misclassifying an employee as an independent contractor.

A hearing on the amended rules will be held on Thursday, September 15, 2011 at 633 17th Street, Suite 1200, Room 12, Denver, Colorado 80202, beginning at 10:00 am.

Full text of the proposed changes with line edits to the rules can be found here. Further information about the rules and hearing can be found here.

Department of Labor and Employment Amends Workers’ Compensation Rules of Procedure

The Department of Labor and Employment has amended Rules 16 and 18 of the Workers’ Compensation Rules of Procedure. These proposed amendments identify and clarify procedures and requirements, update and clarify language, fees, forms, and payments contained within the rules.  The revised rules will also update policy and reflect statutory changes.

The rules address the following subjects:

  • Rule 16 – Utilization Standards
    • Updates to standard terminology; revision of administrative procedures and requirements.  This rule is to be used in conjunction with, and to implement, the Medical Treatment Guidelines and Medical Fee Schedule.
  • Rule 18 – Medical Fee Schedule
    • Required by statute, this rule sets out maximum allowable fees for health care and related services falling within the purview of the Workers’ Compensation Act. Amendments revise, clarify and update language, terminology, procedures, requirements, billing codes, fees, payments, and relative values associated with the fee schedule.
  • The rules revise and correct numbering, citations, and minor grammatical and clerical errors.

A hearing on the proposed amendments will be held on Wednesday, August 17, 2011 at 633 17th Street, 2nd Floor Conference Room, Denver, Colorado 80202, beginning at 9:00 am.

Full text of the proposed revisions to the rules including red line edits can be found here. Further information about the rules and hearing can be found here.

Colorado Division of Labor to Hold Rulemaking Hearing on Minimum Wage

A proposed amendment to the Code of Colorado Regulations (CCR) regarding Colorado’s minimum wage is the subject of a public hearing slated for early November.

The Colorado Department of Labor & Employment’s Division of Labor (DOL) invites public comment on the measure being considered for addition to 7 CCR 1103-1,”Colorado Minimum Wage Order,” that will bring the CCR in line with the state minimum wage pursuant to the Colorado Constitution. Colorado’s minimum wage of $7.24 per hour went into effect January 1, 2010, and will increase again to $7.36 per hour on January 1, 2011. A redline showing all proposed changes is available here.

Interested parties are encouraged to attend the rulemaking hearing on Friday, November 5, on the second floor of the DOL office, located in Downtown Denver at 633 17th Street. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 2:00 p.m.

For more information, contact Amanda Neal at the DOL, (303) 318-8460.