(Apr. 30) – The House gave final approval to Rep. Matt Gray and Rep. Monica Duran’s bill, SB19-188 Family Medical Leave Insurance Program (FAMLI), that will ensure a seamless implementation of the best possible FAMLI policy for Coloradans. The plan creates an outline and execution schedule that lays the groundwork for the implementation of a strong, robust paid family leave policy for Colorado workers and businesses by 2024.
“We’ve got consensus across all political spectrums that paid leave should be a reality,” said Rep. Matt Gray. “This is the biggest next step we can take and look forward to taking bigger ones in the future that will help make life better for the majority of workers in our state who don’t have access to paid leave.”
“I escaped domestic violence and battled homelessness to keep my son safe but I lost a job and home, and in that moment I made a promise to myself that if I was ever in position to make a difference and be a voice for others, I would,” said Rep. Duran, D-Wheat Ridge.
“This bill will help offer safe leave. Whether you’re a server, a nurse, a fast food worker, or a lawyer, you should have access to paid leave. Over 90 percent of Coloradans don’t have access to leave to care for a sick loved one or a newborn.”
The implementation plan is comprised of a number of analyses that will ensure the program is administered efficiently, effectively, and fiscally responsible, 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. The bill does require that the General Assembly grant permission for implementation of the program by legislation.
Eighty eight percent of 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. That means most Coloradans do not have time off to recover from a serious illness, to care for a sick family member or to welcome the birth of a child. They are often forced to choose between their jobs or taking care of sick loved one.
SB19-188 passed by a vote of 40-24. It goes back to the Senate for approval of amendments.