Pension & Benefits News Colorado becomes ninth state to enact paid family and medical leave
Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Colorado becomes ninth state to enact paid family and medical leave

By Pension and Benefits Editorial Staff

On November 3, Colorado voters approved the Paid Medical and Family Leave (PMFL) Initiative, Proposition 118. PMFL creates a state-run paid family and medical leave insurance program in Colorado that allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave. The program begins on January 1, 2024, and is similar to paid family leave plans in California and New Jersey.

Paid family and medical leave. The PMFL authorizes paid family and medical leave for a covered employee who:

  • has a serious health condition;
  • is caring for a new child or for a family member with a serious health condition;
  • has a need for leave related to a family member’s military deployment; or
  • has a need for safe leave.

Amount of leave. The measure establishes a maximum of 12 weeks of family and medical leave, with an additional four weeks for pregnancy or childbirth complications. There is a cap on the weekly benefit amount.

Premiums. To pay for the family and medical leave program, Proposition 118 authorizes a premium of 0.9 percent of each employee’s wages, up to a cap, through December 31, 2024, and as set thereafter, up to 1.2 percent of each employee’s wages.

The employer is authorized to deduct up to 50 percent of the premium amount from an employee’s wages and is required to remit the remainder of the required premium. There is an exemption for employers with fewer than 10 employees; those employers may deduct up to 50 percent of the premium from an employee’s wages remit only 50 percent of the required premium.

Job protect and retaliation. The PMFL provides job protection for and prohibits retaliation against an employee who takes paid family and medical leave.

Other provisions. Among other things, initiated statute permits a local government to opt out of the program. However, employees of local governments that opt out and self-employed individuals are eligible to participate in the program.

Notably, employers that offer an approved private paid family and medical leave plan are exempted.


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