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Family Medical Leave Task Force Seeking Public Comments

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Tuesday, September 17, 2019   

DENVER — The public has until September 25 to deliver comments to a task force charged with researching all options for creating a statewide paid family and medical-leave program.

Kathy White, deputy director of the Colorado Fiscal Institute, is on the task force. She said the group needs to hear from all Coloradans, especially moms who had to return to work weeks or just days after giving birth. She said if Colorado joins eight other states and the District of Columbia in creating a strong program, all residents would benefit.

"Because at some point, all workers will face a life event - like they will get sick, they will have to care for a sick loved one, or they will welcome a new baby,” White said. “And when that happens, they shouldn't have to sacrifice their jobs or being able to pay their bills."

White added the U.S. is the only developed nation without a paid family leave policy for all workers.

Comments from business groups have been streaming in ahead of the deadline. Some have expressed concern about the program's cost, while others say they'd rather provide leave benefits on their own without a state mandate.

Nationally, just 13% of private-sector workers have paid family-leave benefits. The proposal presented in the last legislative session was to create a statewide insurance pool, with employees and owners each contributing a few cents a week. Workers would be eligible for 12 weeks' leave, and get paid up to 80% of their wage.

White said she believes the program would benefit businesses.

"As they have their retention boosted, employee morale is boosted, turnover costs are reduced, and you just have a healthier, happier workforce,” she said.

The Colorado FAMLI Act was signed into law earlier in 2019. A task force was selected to provide a sweeping overview of how the program could work in the state, information lawmakers will consider before determining the final program.

To submit comments online, visit famlitaskforce.com.

Disclosure: Colorado Fiscal Institute contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Census, Education, Livable Wages/Working Families. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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In the United States, home-care workers, mostly women and people of color, earn on average only $12 an hour. (Adobe Stock)

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