April 25, 2019

Denver, CO – The Colorado State Senate today voted 19-to-16 today to pass SB19-188, Family and Medical Leave Act, on third reading. This legislation, sponsored by Senators Faith Winter (D-Westminster) and Angela Williams (D-Denver), lays a clear pathway to provide a strong, robust paid family leave policy for Coloradans to care for themselves and their families in 2024.

Eighty eight 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.

“We know businesses and Coloradans want employees to be able to care for a sick parent, recover from an injury, or welcome the birth of child, and we are one step closer to making that a reality for hardworking Coloradans,” said Senator Winter. “We’re going to continue to work to make sure we create the right program for Colorado that is good for both employees and employers. We have a clear path forward and are going to get a strong, robust paid family leave policy for the people of Colorado.”

“Serious consequences can arise when Colorado workers can’t take paid time off to care for their families – both for the businesses and for the employees,” said Senator Williams. “I am proud of the hard work we have put into this bill, and today is an important step forward in making paid family leave a norm for all Coloradans, not just a few. We’re going to get this done for Coloradans.”

The implementation plan is comprised of a number of analyses 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.

For more information about the bill, please visit https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/SB19-188.