SB 20-205 promotes transparency and protections for consumers, customers & employees DENVER –– Today, Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg and Senator Jeff Bridges, alongside Speaker of the House KC Becker and Representative Yadira Caraveo, provided a comprehensive overview of their newly introduced bill, SB20-205 which empowers all Colorado workers to protect themselves and their coworkers by earning paid sick days.
“In this new reality, we must ensure that people are able to prioritize and protect the health of themselves, their families, and their communities,” said Majority Leader Fenberg, (D-Boulder). “Currently nearly half of Colorado workers are not able to earn a single sick day. To keep our communities safe, our businesses open and our economy on the road to recovery, we need to ensure that all workers can stay home when they are sick.”
“We are focusing on how we can help Coloradans safely get back to work as we protect our most vulnerable and prioritize the health and safety of all,” said Speaker KC Becker, (D-Boulder). “Too many of those on the frontlines of this pandemic, our health care workers, food service workers who are restocking grocery stores, and so many other essential workers, don’t have paid sick leave. If Coloradans return to work sick, then we will reverse the progress we’ve made and our economic crisis will worsen. Paid sick leave will lead to healthier communities, stronger businesses, and a safer road to recovery.”
“In many ways the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that we don’t have many of the necessary provisions in place to protect Coloradans,” said Sen. Bridges, (D-Greenwood Village). “When people are going to work sick it hurts all of us. That’s why we are sponsoring this legislation to ensure no Coloradan has to choose between their health and their income.”
“As a pediatrician, I see and treat sick children all day long,” said Rep. Caraveo, (D-Thornton). “COVID-19 is a highly contagious disease that can affect an entire family. When people have paid sick days, it means that they are more likely to go to the doctor and get the care they need to prevent further spread of the disease to the rest of their family and loved ones. If we’re faced with anything like this again, Coloradans need to have access to paid sick days for the health of us all.”
Currently, 40% of Colorado’s workforce are not afforded the opportunity to earn paid sick days–– creating a “work while sick” culture in Colorado that increases the deadly transmission of viruses such as COVID-19. SB20-205 will allow those who are feeling ill to protect their coworkers, customers, and loved ones by staying home, without the fear of losing their income.
Earned sick days are a paid, job-protected benefit to ensure people can stay home to care for themselves or a family member during a short-term illness. Under SB20-205, employees will earn a sick day for every 26 hours worked. Most employees in Colorado will be able to earn a maximum of 80 hours of paid sick time per year, and businesses with 50 or fewer employees will be able to earn a maximum of 40 hours. Employers are not required to pay the balance of sick days to employees when they leave, and because days are earned by employees, there will be a gradual phase of this benefit.
Studies show that employees working while sick costs the national economy approximately $160 billion per year—and that was before coronavirus. Studies also show that providing paid sick days allows businesses to benefit from higher employee productivity, healthier workplaces, and lower employee turnover.