DENVER, CO — The House Committee on Health and Insurance today advanced bills to provide paid sick leave and expand access to telehealth.
“We’re working to help Coloradans safely get back to work, and that means allowing workers to stay home if they are sick so that they don’t hurt their colleagues or customers,” said Speaker KC Becker, D-Boulder. “As a mother of two young boys, I know how important this policy is for working parents. No one should be forced to choose between earning a paycheck and going to the doctor or caring for a sick child.”
“If Coloradans return to work while they are sick, then we may see a second wave of the virus,” said Rep. Caraveo, D- Thornton. “We need to stop incentivising people to go to work sick. As a pediatrician, I know that paid sick leave is essential for a healthy workforce that can stay on the job and help keep our businesses open.”
SB20-205, sponsored by Speaker KC Becker and Representative Yadira Caraveo, passed 6-4 and would allow workers to earn paid sick leave. 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.
“Telehealth has allowed Coloradans across the state to get the care they need during this pandemic,” said Rep. Susan Lontine, D-Denver. “If we don’t act, then access to these critical services could expire, so we are advancing legislation to extend and protect Coloradans ability to use telehealth and get the care they need.”
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.