Romer: Is your business ready for FAMLI? |

Romer: Is your business ready for FAMLI?

Colorado voters approved Proposition 118 in November 2020, paving the way for a state-run paid family and medical leave insurance program. The FAMLI program will ensure all Colorado workers have access to paid leave to take care of themselves or their family during life circumstances that pull them away from their jobs — like growing their family or taking care of a loved one with a serious health condition. 

With the law now in effect, most businesses and most workers across the state are required to comply. Both employers and employees will contribute premiums to the program. Premium payments begin in 2023, so employees may start to see a FAMLI premium deduction on their pay stubs beginning Jan. 1, 2023. FAMLI will start providing benefits to employees beginning Jan. 1, 2024. Most eligible employees will receive up to 12 weeks of leave. Those who experience pregnancy or childbirth complications may receive an additional four weeks.

The FAMLI program will ensure all Colorado workers have access to paid leave to take care of themselves or their families during life circumstances that pull them away from their jobs. Employers and employees are both responsible for funding the program and may split the costs 50/50. The premiums are set to 0.9% of the employee’s wage, with 0.45% paid by the employer and 0.45% paid by the employee. Employers may also elect to pay the full amount if they choose to offer this as an added perk for their employees.

Employers with nine or fewer employees do not have to contribute to the program but do need to remit their employees’ share (0.45%) of premium payments each quarter. This can be done via payroll deductions. Employers who offer their own paid leave program may apply for an exemption to the program.

While FAMLI benefits won’t be available to employees until 2024, businesses must begin collecting premiums starting on Jan 1, 2023, through a simple payroll deduction. Most Colorado businesses will need to begin deducting FAMLI premiums from all employees on their payroll, including full-time, part-time, and seasonal.

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Employers cannot collect missed premiums from employees in later pay periods. It is important to know employees are never required to pay more than 50% of the total premium. By law, the FAMLI division director is required to recalculate the premium rate every year past 2025 and determine if adjustments to the premium rate need to be made. Current Colorado law caps the premium at 1.2% meaning it will not be assessed any higher than this amount.

Private businesses have the option of using an approved private plan that offers the same or greater benefits and protections as the FAMLI program. Employers considering offering a private plan (including self-insurance models) are not exempt from paying FAMLI premiums until the FAMLI division has reviewed and approved the private plan or self-insurance documentation following the division’s private plan regulations.

All employers must register with the FAMLI program and will be required to pay premiums beginning Jan. 1, 2023. Employers can request a refund for premiums paid in 2023 if they get a private plan approved by the division with an effective date on or before Jan. 1, 2024.

For more details, check out where the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Division has a variety of materials including an Employer Toolkit

Chris Romer is president & CEO of Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at

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