Colorado Passes Civil Union Act – Impact On Employee Benefits and Protections

New Rights to Employee Benefits and Protections

Colorado’s Governor John Hickenlooper recently signed into law the Colorado Civil Union Act (SB 11). The Act authorizes two adults, regardless of gender, to enter into a certified civil union. The new law guarantees civil union partners the same rights, benefits, protections, duties and obligations as are granted to or imposed on spouses under state law.

The law gives civil union partners the same employment protections and benefits automatically available to married employees. Included are rights and benefits related to workers’ compensation, unemployment, family leave, life, health, and property insurance, and other benefits. The law also protects these workers from discriminatory practices in employment and from retaliation for asserting their rights.

The Act is effective May 1, 2013, with the exception of some provisions specific to health and life insurance policies that become effective January 1, 2014.

Employers are encouraged to review applicable labor laws and examine their own policies for compliance in anticipation of the new law. We will let you know as soon as a poster update becomes available.

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