Gov signs bills to guarantee paid sick leave, expand unemployment insurance and protect renters with alternative sources of income, such as UI benefits.
Denver, CO — Governor Jared Polis today signed four bills into law that guarantee paid sick leave, expand access to unemployment insurance (UI) and protect renters who are relying on alternative sources of income, such as UI benefits, to make ends meet.
“No one, especially during a pandemic, should be forced to go to work sick in order to make ends meet and doing so jeopardizes the progress we’ve made in Colorado to safely reopen,” said Speaker KC Becker, D-Boulder. “COVID-19 has shown just how badly workers in our state need guaranteed paid sick leave, and with the governor’s signature today, we’ll be better prepared to weather this pandemic and anything that comes our way in the future.”
“As a pediatrician, I know how important it is for Coloradans to access the care they need, and guaranteeing paid sick leave means more workers and their families will stay healthy during this pandemic and be able to care for their loved ones without risking their job,” said Rep. Yadira Caraveo, D- Thornton.
SB20-205, sponsored by Speaker KC Becker and Representative Yadira Caraveo, would allow workers to earn paid sick leave. Currently, 40 percent of Colorado’s workforce is not afforded the opportunity to earn paid sick days. 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. 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.
SB20-207, sponsored by Representatives Matt Gray and Tom Sullivan, increases the amount of wages a person may earn before having their unemployment insurance benefits reduced and expands the state’s Work Share Program, which allows employers to use UI benefits to compensate employees for lost hours as an alternative to laying off employees. It also allows workers who fear for their safety if they return to work to apply for UI benefits.
SB20-170, sponsored by Representatives Dominique Jackson and Monica Duran, makes it easier for domestic violence victims and siblings who are primary caretakers to receive unemployment insurance benefits.
“Many Coloradans are struggling right now to pay their rent and support their families,” said Rep. Matt Gray, D-Broomfield. “This new law will help hardworking Coloradans make ends meet and continue essential economic assistance for workers who have seen their hours reduced or who cannot return to their workplace because it is not safe.”
“When we came back into session in May, we said we’d pass legislation to help Coloradans get through this crisis, and that’s exactly what this new law will do,” said Rep. Tom Sullivan, D-Centennial.
“One of the most devastating consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the increase in domestic violence that far too many in Colorado have experienced,” said Rep. Monica Duran, D-Wheat Ridge. “I’m proud we were able to eliminate red tape and make it easier for survivors to get the economic assistance they need to be safe and get through this crisis.”
HB20-1332, sponsored by Representatives Leslie Herod and Dominique Jackson, makes discrimination in housing based on a person’s source of income an unfair housing practice. As long as a person’s source of income is lawful and verifiable, including income from any government assistance program, a landlord cannot refuse to show, rent or lease housing. This is especially important given the sharp increase in the number of Coloradans claiming unemployment benefits as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Hundreds of thousands of Coloradans are receiving unemployment insurance or other essential economic assistance during this pandemic, and this new law guarantees that access to housing won’t be closed off for those hardworking families who need a little help to get through this crisis,” said Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver. “No longer will we allow someone’s source of income to be a proxy for discrimination.”
“Access to housing is critical for economic stability and the health of everyone in our state,” said Rep. Dominique Jackson, D-Aurora. “With our country facing an eviction crisis, it’s essential that we remove barriers that make it harder for Coloradans to find a place to live. I’m also proud that we were able to make it easier for survivors of domestic violence to access the support they need to live safely during these challenging times when rates of domestic violence are rising.”