Governor Jared Polis today signed into law SB19-188, Family and Medical Leave Act, a bill sponsored by Senators Faith Winter (D-Westminster) and Angela Williams (D-Denver) that lays a clear pathway to provide a strong, robust paid family leave policy for Coloradans to care for themselves and their families in 2024.
Nearly 88 percent of working Coloradans do not have access to paid family leave, and even unpaid leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act is inaccessible for 64 percent of working people. The policy is incredibly popular among both employees and employers. In fact, 68 percent of Coloradans and nearly two-thirds of small businesses support establishing a paid family leave policy in the state, according to a survey of likely 2020 voters and a poll conducted by Chesapeake Beach Consulting.
“No one should have to make the decision to take their parent off life support from their break room and, with the signing of this bill, we are one step closer to ensuring that no Coloradan will have to,” said Senator Winter. “We’re going to continue to work to make sure we create the right paid family leave program that ensures employers and Coloradans can care for a sick parent, recover from an injury, or welcome the birth of child.”
“Today is an important step forward towards implementing a paid family leave program for everyone that is both good for businesses and working Coloradans,” said Senator Williams. “We worked hard, listening to both employees and employers, and are committed to making sure that we create the right paid family leave program for Colorado that ensures everyone can get the paid time off they need to care for themselves and their families.”
The implementation plan is comprised of a number of analysis that will ensure the FAMLI program is administered efficiently, effectively, and fiscally responsibly, including:
A family and medical leave implementation task force, which will be appointed by July 1, 2019;
A report prepared for the taskforce with results from a third-party study and recommendations from experts in the field by October 1, 2019;
An independent actuarial analysis completed by December 1, 2019;
The implementation plan also requires an analysis of the feasibility of contracting with a third-party to administer parts of the program as an alternative to administration by the state.
The plan does not change the timeline for when Coloradans can start receiving benefits from the program. These analyses will assist in the preparation of legislation in the 2020 legislative session establishing paid family leave in Colorado. Following the establishment of the program, education and outreach will begin on January 1, 2022, the funding stream will be established on January 1, 2023, and benefits will be provided beginning on January 1, 2024.
SB19-188 passed the Colorado House of Representatives on April 30, 2019 by a vote of 40-24 and made its final passage through the Senate on May 1, 2019 by a vote of 19-16.
For more information about the bill, please visit https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/SB19-188.