(Feb. 6) – A bill to create a Colorado insurance pool to provide paid medical leave to workers after childbirth, or to deal with serious illnesses to themselves or close family members, made a successful debut today in the House Business Affairs & Labor Committee.

The family medical leave insurance program, sponsored by Reps. Faith Winter, D-Westminster, and Matt Gray, D-Broomfield, was deemed to be of such significance that Speaker Crisanta Duran made it the first bill to be introduced this session. It would provide up to 12 weeks of replacement wages, which would be capped at $1,000 per week.

“This bill creates an insurance pool to provide coverage for all Coloradans to care for a sick parent or a newborn, or to get chemotherapy or treatment of other serious medical conditions,” Rep Winter said. “For thousands of Coloradans, if their only leave option is unpaid, they may be forced to sacrifice caring for themselves or a family member.”

“This bill will increase job security for workers and improve workforce morale,” Rep. Gray said. “Plus it will reduce workforce turnover without costing employers a dime. It’s an answer to some of the most serious issues affecting Colorado families today.”

The vote on HB18-1001 in the Business Affairs & Labor Committee was 7-6. Every Republican on the committee voted no on paid family leave even though surveys show it is favored by strong majorities of Republicans as well as Democrats and President Donald Trump endorsed family leave in his State of the Union speech last week.

The bill advances to the Finance Committee.

 

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