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What will make or break the effort for Colorado paid family leave proposal

Jennifer Brown, The Colorado Sun
Kelsey Rivera, pictured in this February 2019 photo, took time off under the federal family-leave act and was allowed to bring her baby to work at the Jefferson County Public Health Department. Democrats are expected to run legislation for the sixth time to create a state family- and medical-leave program. (Marvin Anani, Special to The Colorado Sun)

ringing paid family leave to Colorado workers was a top priority for Democrats when they took control of the statehouse last year. But after effective protests from the business community, the legislature settled instead for a study. 

The study group — which included family leave proponents and small business owners — met for seven months, commissioned three studies and wrote a 48-page report. But did they find a plan everyone can agree on? The short answer is no. 

Legislation is expected again this session from Sen. Faith Winter, a Westminster Democrat who has run similar bills five times. The senator said she is still working out the details, this time using the task force report as a guide.

Last year’s proposal would have required paycheck deductions from all Colorado workers, as well as employer contributions, with the total of those two equaling 0.64% of a worker’s salary. The funds would have gone into an account run by the state Department of Labor and Employment, which would approve requests and dispense money to Coloradans who needed time off to have a baby, adopt a baby, care for a sick or dying loved one, or recover from a health issue. The annual cap was 12 weeks.

This year’s proposal remains unsettled, but if the thorough but contentious task force report is any indication, the legislation is likely to look different. And the battle is likely to once again get heavy.

Read more via The Colorado Sun.

The Colorado Sun is a reader-supported news organization dedicated to covering the people, places and policies that matter in Colorado. Read more, sign up for free newsletters and subscribe at coloradosun.com.


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