House Gives Preliminary Approval to Paid Sick Leave, Passes Telehealth Expansion

DENVER, CO — The House today gave preliminary approval to legislation that would provide paid sick leave and passed on third reading legislation to expand access to telehealth by a vote of 64-1. 

“House Democrats are working to help our state get back to work safely by protecting workers when they get sick, so they can stay home and get better without hurting their coworkers or customers,” said Speaker KC Becker, D-Boulder. “No one should have to choose between their paycheck and going to the doctor or caring for a sick child. As a mother of two young boys, I know how important it is to be able to care for them when they are sick.” 

“As a pediatrician, I know how important it is for Coloradans to get the care they need when they are sick,” said Rep. Caraveo, D-Thornton. “It shouldn’t matter what industry you work in. All workers should be able to care for themselves or a child or family member. We won’t be unprepared the next time we face a health emergency like COVID-19. With this bill, Coloradans will be able to take time off when they get sick and protect their colleagues without giving up their livelihoods.” 

SB20-205, sponsored by Speaker KC Becker and Representative Yadira Caraveo, would allow workers to earn paid sick leave. Currently, 40% of Colorado’s workforce is not afforded the opportunity to earn paid sick days –– creating a “work while sick” culture that increases the transmission of deadly viruses such as COVID-19. The bill allows Colorado workers, including part-time workers, to earn one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours of work, up to 6 days per year. Sick leave is earned, job-protected time off that workers can use to care for their own health needs or those of a family member. The bill also provides leave during a public health emergency like COVID-19; employees that work 40 or more hours a week will receive at least 80 hours of additional paid sick leave. 

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth has allowed Coloradans across the state to get the care they need without risking their lives,” said Rep. Susan Lontine, D-Denver. “Telehealth is critical for our rural communities, improves access to health care and lowers costs. This bill extends access to these critical services so they won’t go away when the public health emergency expires.”

SB20-212, sponsored by Representatives Susan Lontine and Matt Soper, R-Delta, protects access to physical and mental health care via telehealth by continuing policies implemented during the pandemic to expand reimbursement for telehealth services. The bill requires that insurers, including Indian Health Services and Medicaid, continue to reimburse providers for telehealth services. Telehealth coverage helps Coloradans in rural and mountain communities access care without traveling long distances and provides access to care for people served by federally qualified health centers.

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