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Employment Law

Colorado Secure Savings Program: Colorado’s New Retirement Program for Everyone

Colorado Secure Savings Program: Colorado’s New Retirement Program for Everyone

Amanda Milgrom

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Colorado’s new, but not yet implemented, government-sponsored retirement program is causing employers consternation. Although the state has not promulgated the formal rules have yet, let’s dive into what we know so far.

In 2023, Colorado will roll out its first government-sponsored retirement program, the Colorado Secure Savings Program (“Program”), established in Senate Bill 20-200. While Colorado employers still have the option of sponsoring their own retirement plan, they must enroll in the Program if they choose not to do so. The Program was founded based on years of research conducted by the Colorado Secure Savings Board in the Office of State Treasurer, who found that a state-facilitated automatic enrollment individual retirement account program would be the best option for Coloradans.. In response to these findings, the Program was created. It will be administered at no cost to employers, and the retirement accounts will be funded by employee wages.

To be eligible for the Program, an employee must be 18 years or older, have been employed by a Colorado employer for at least 180 days, and earn taxable wages in Colorado. Employees will be enrolled automatically in the Program, but they will have the choice to opt out. The default rate to be withheld from each paycheck is 5%, with an auto escalation each year. An employee can adjust that percentage as they desire.

The Program, at least at first, will only apply to businesses with 5 or more employees during any calendar year; have been in business for at least two years; and not offered a qualified retirement plan in the preceding two years.

Employers can face noncompliance, such as failure to enroll eligible employees, of $100/eligible employee per year (up to max of $5,000 annually).

Self-employed individuals and 1099 contractors are also eligible to participate in the Program. As more becomes known about the Program, we encourage you to connect with us if you have any questions about what these developments mean for you or need help securing your retirement plan.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

PARTNER

Amanda Milgrom represents individuals and businesses of all sizes in various litigation matters regarding employment, intellectual property, and business disputes. She practices employment law, representing employees in discrimination lawsuits and counseling employers on best practices, drafting employee handbooks, and putting together suites of employment contracts.

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Copyright Law

Should You Seek Foreign Intellectual Property Protection?

If you plan to conduct business abroad or have an online business that reaches customers abroad, you should consider seeking international intellectual property protection. Intellectual property protection is often limited to the country where you conduct business and/or where you file for protection with the respective foreign intellectual property office. For example, a U.S. trademark registration will not protect you against trademark disputes that arise in other countries. As another example, a U.S. patent prevents others from making, using, selling, offering for sale, and importing your patented invention in the U.S., but does not prevent others from doing the same in other countries.

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Employment Law

Workplace Accommodations for Nursing Mothers

Workplace Accommodations for Nursing Mothers

Lindsey Brown

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New mothers who remain in the workforce often continue breastfeeding well beyond the time they return to their jobs. However, returning to work can present challenges to nursing mothers. Currently, twenty-eight states have laws related to supporting nursing women at work, and Colorado is among them.

Colorado’s Workplace Accommodations for Nursing Mothers Act (or “WANMA”, codified at C.R.S. section 8-13.5-104) requires all employers (regardless of size) to provide accommodations for lactating mothers who wish to express breastmilk at work. This law states that employers must either allow an employee to use a paid break and/or mealtime, or provide reasonable unpaid break time, or both, each day to express breast milk for their nursing child.

The law also requires employers to make reasonable efforts to provide a private location (not a bathroom stall) close to the employee’s work area where the employee can express breastmilk. The space should be private and free from intrusions by coworkers or the public.[1] Ideally, the space should also include comfortable seating, electrical outlets, a small refrigerator, and a sink with running water and cleaning supplies, although these conveniences are not specifically required.   

Colorado law also prohibits employers from discriminating or penalizing employees who continue to breastfeed while returning to work. Employees who experience negative feedback from their employers after taking advantage of these accommodations may have a claim under WANMA. However, Colorado law requires the employee and employer to engage in non-binding mediation before pursing litigation.

The protections under WANMA apply for two years from the child’s date of birth. This aligns with the current recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which recommends mothers breastfeed their infants for 2 years, which doubles the prior recommendation of 1 year.

An employer can comply with this law by making reasonable efforts to accommodate the needs of an employee in these circumstances. But what is the definition of “reasonable efforts”? According to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (the “CDLE”), reasonable efforts “means any effort that would not impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer’s business.” The CDLE describes undue hardship as “any action that requires significant difficulty or expense when considered in relation to factors such as the size of the business, the financial resources of the business, or the nature and structure of its operation, including consideration of the special circumstances of public safety.”[2]

Since its relatively recent passage in 2016, Colorado courts have adjudicated very few cases which focus on WANMA. However, a Judge in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado recently found that Frontier Airlines providing a single lactation room at Denver International Airport for all its employees was insufficient to dismiss the plaintiffs’ claim on a motion to dismiss.[3] Similarly, other states with similar laws have found that providing a single lactation room for hundreds of employees in a large facility was insufficient to comply with state and federal regulations.

If you are an employer seeking to ensure compliance with WANMA, or a nursing mother employee with questions on your rights, Milgrom & Daskam is available to consult and advise.


[1] (See U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division, Section 7(r) of the Fair Labor Standards Act — Break Time for Nursing Mothers Provision).

[2] https://cdle.colorado.gov/workplace-conditions/workplace-accommodations-for-nursing-mothers#:~:text=The%20Workplace%20Accommodations%20for%20Nursing,child%20for%20up%20to%20two

[3] 2021 WL 4727475

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

PARTNER

Lindsey is a litigation partner and mom to her one-and-a-half-year-old daughter. Lindsey is proud to work at Milgrom & Daskam, where being a parent and an attorney is celebrated and encouraged. Milgrom & Daskam works to support its working parents by fostering dialogue and understanding.

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Employment Law

Workplace Accommodations for Nursing Mothers

Many women choose to breastfeed their newborns, as the benefits of nursing are well-established. However, returning to work can present challenges to nursing mothers. Currently, twenty-eight states have laws related to supporting nursing women at work, and Colorado is among them.

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Real Estate Law

FinCEN and Real Estate: Additional Disclosure Requirements May Be On the Horizon for Real Estate Transactions

As part of the anti-money laundering regime under the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970 (the “BSA”), in late 2021, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) division of the Department of the Treasury issued an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (“ANPRM”) seeking to address potential money laundering through real estate transactions. The comment period for the ANPRM closed on February 21, 2022. This ANPRM comes closely after the notice of proposed rulemaking related to the implementation of the Corporate Transparency Act (the “CTA”), which you can read more about here. Both the CTA and the proposed regulations under the ANPRM would require significant levels of disclosure regarding the beneficial ownership of companies and real estate in non-financed real estate transactions. These measures aim to reduce money laundering, and assets held by undisclosed foreign investors. It is estimated that between 2015 and 2020, at least $2.3 billion was laundered through U.S. real estate, though the actual figure is likely much higher Accordingly, both FinCEN and Congress are trying to limit the number of real estate transactions used to launder money.

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Categories
Real Estate Law

FinCEN and Real Estate: Additional Disclosure Requirements May Be On the Horizon for Real Estate Transactions

FinCEN and Real Estate: Additional Disclosure Requirements May Be On the Horizon for Real Estate Transactions

Madison Shaner

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As part of the anti-money laundering regime under the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970 (the “BSA”), in late 2021, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) division of the Department of the Treasury issued an advanced notice of proposed rule-making (“ANPRM”) seeking to address potential money laundering through real estate transactions. The comment period for the ANPRM closed on February 21, 2022. This ANPRM comes closely after the notice of proposed rule-making related to the implementation of the Corporate Transparency Act (the “CTA”), which you can read more about here. Both the CTA and the proposed regulations under the ANPRM would require significant levels of disclosure regarding the beneficial ownership of companies and real estate in non-financed real estate transactions.  These measures aim to reduce money laundering, and assets held by undisclosed foreign investors. It is estimated that between 2015 and 2020, at least $2.3 billion was laundered through U.S. real estate, though the actual figure is likely much higher. Accordingly, both FinCEN and Congress are trying to limit the number of real estate transactions used to launder money.

The existing disclosure framework under the BSA requires recordkeeping and disclosure of certain information by financial and other reporting entities in commercial and residential real estate transactions involving financing, and in all-cash residential transactions valued at over $300,000 in specific cities. The existing requirements are intended to assist in detecting and reporting suspicious transactions to aid in combatting money laundering and the financing of terrorist activity. According to FinCEN, the current reporting framework covers roughly 80% of real estate transactions. The proposed rules, however, would apply to non-financed real estate transactions and essentially target the remaining 20% by potentially expanding reporting requirements to include all real estate transactions “not financed via a loan, mortgage, or other similar instrument, issued by a bank or a non-bank residential mortgage lender or originator, and that is made, at least in part, using currency or value that substitutes for currency” which could include real estate transactions using cryptocurrency. Additionally, unlike the current regulations, the proposed reporting requirements are not geographically limited to certain metropolitan areas.

The proposed rules and questions in the ANPRM targeted the following topics through a series of over 80 questions: (i) to whom new requirements should apply; (ii) which transactions should be covered; (iii) the dollar-value reporting threshold; (iv)what information should be reported; (v) how information should be reported; and (vi) who should be responsible fore reporting that information.

Financial institutions, and in some instances title insurance companies, currently bear the burden of meeting reporting requirements in covered transactions. However, the ANPRM could expand the scope of service providers required to report transaction information as FinCEN sought input on which service providers should be required to collect information, maintain records, and report information on non-financed purchases, and whether it should employ a “hierarchical, cascading reporting obligations on different entities involved in the transactions to ensure there is always an entity required to report.

The proposed regulations are also coupled with the Kleptocrat Liability for Excessive Property Transactions and Ownership (the “KLEPTO Act”), the bi-partisan bill introduced by Senators Elizabeth Warren, Sheldon Whitehouse, Roger Wicker, and Bill Cassidy in April as a way to crack down on transactions by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his allies and to provide information as to who is purchasing assets, including real estate and aircrafts, as a way to launder funds.

Paired with the beneficial ownership reporting requirements under the CTA, any potential (additional) reporting requirements for real estate transactions will likely result in significant disclosure requirements for all real estate investors and owners in the future, even if real estate investment and ownership is accomplished using a third-party entity. While no final rule-making has been announced relating to real estate transactions, we can likely expect greater scrutiny and additional burdens to be imposed on real estate transactions in the future.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

ASSOCIATE

Madison (Maddie) Shaner joined Milgrom & Daskam as an Associate in 2019. Her practice focuses on corporate and real estate transactions. Prior to joining Milgrom & Daskam, Maddie was an associate at Tyson, Gurney & Hovey, LLC where she conducted oil and gas title examination and assisted in drafting drilling and division order title opinions for upstream oil and gas clients.

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Dude, Diligence?

The due diligence process in the purchase and sale of a business can seem daunting and cumbersome. Any attorney or financial professional worth his or her salt will tell you that conducting adequate diligence is paramount and, despite what will almost certainly feel like an unnecessarily lengthy and intrusive process, serves to mitigate risks for buyers and sellers alike.
This post is meant to provide a very basic framework of the due diligence process in asset deals to assist buyers and sellers in understanding (a) what they are looking at, (b) what they should be looking for, and (c) setting expectations about how the process looks, and where it can go awry. This post should not be relied on as legal advice, and you should always engage counsel and other financial and tax professionals if you are considering buying or selling a business.

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