(Apr. 26) –The House Finance committee approved 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.
“This has always been about helping hardworking families and individuals and this bill will help us reach that goal,” said Rep. Gray, D-Broomfield. “For too many Coloradans, their only option is unpaid leave. It’s past time to provide answers to one of the most critical issue affecting families today.”
The implementation plan is comprised of a number of analyses that will ensure the 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.
“I escaped domestic violence to save myself and my son but lost a job, lost a home, and was homeless. 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 step up and do it, and this plan is a step in the right direction,” said Rep. Monica Duran, D-Wheat Ridge. “No one should ever be forced to choose between feeding your family, keeping your home or your job.”
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 on a vote of 7-3 It now heads to the House Appropriations committee.