A task force that has been working on a sixth legislative attempt at paid family leave in Colorado will introduce another bill next year.
Sen. Faith Winter, D-Westminster, told The Denver Post that the group has compiled over 1,000 public comments during the course of their meetings.
“I’m more confident this year because I think there’s commitments on process,” she said. “There’s no predetermined outcome or final product, but commitment to actually do the process.”
Gov. Jared Polis told the task force he hopes the program could begin in January 2021, and that sponsors be open to compromise about the size of employers who are eligible and the duration of the benefit.
The plan, as introduced in the past, would have required employers and employees to pay into a state fund, similar to unemployment insurance. In return, employees would receive 12 weeks of paid family leave for pregnancies, infant or sick relative care, or recovery from illness.
In the 2019 legislative session, all Senate Republicans opposed the bill, and some Democrats, including Polis, wavered in their support. Business groups, too, raised concerns about how small businesses especially would cope with long-term staff absences.
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that 14% of U.S. civilian workers had access to paid family leave as of 2017. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act provides 12 weeks of unpaid leave that covers approximately 60% of the workforce, but many employees do not take it when needed because they cannot afford to miss a paycheck.