Resources Article

Colorado – A State Champion for Paid Leave Protections

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In recent years, the “Centennial State” has paved the way for strong worker’s rights protections by passing several monumental paid leave laws. In 2020, the Colorado Legislature passed a comprehensive paid sick time law, the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (HFWA). The law guarantees a permanent right to paid sick and safe leave to workers across Colorado, and it guarantees additional sick leave to workers during a declared public health emergency, like COVID-19. Colorado’s paid sick time law—one of the strongest in the country—continues to serve as a lifeline to workers and their families balancing caretaking and economic needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also in 2020, Colorado made history when voters overwhelmingly passed a paid family and medical leave law (Proposition 118). Colorado joined eight states and Washington D.C. that have passed paid family and medical leave laws, and it became the first state to pass such a law by ballot initiative. The program is now being implemented, and workers will become eligible to apply for and receive leave benefits starting in January 2024.

A Better Balance helped to write and pass both of these paid leave laws, and we are now working with coalition partners to ensure they are successfully implemented and enforced.

Colorado’s Paid Sick and Safe Time Law: Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (HFWA)
Colorado’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Law: FAMLI Act (formerly Prop. 118)
  • Frequently Asked Questions: Colorado’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program
  • A Better Balance’s Blog Post on Colorado’s Historic Passing of Prop 118
  • Comparative Chart on Paid Family and Medical Leave Laws in the United States
  • Amici Curiae Briefs Filed in Defense of the FAMLI Act with the Colorado Supreme Court: In 2021, a conservative law firm representing a construction company in Western Colorado filed a legal challenge against the FAMLI Act in court. The Chief Judge of the Denver District Court dismissed the lawsuit and issued a very strong opinion in favor of the FAMLI program. Given the time-sensitive nature of this matter, in early 2022, the Colorado Supreme Court granted a joint request from both parties to hear the case on appeal. In April 2022, A Better Balance led and filed an amici curiae brief on behalf of coalition partners and the Colorado voters who filed the paid family and medical leave ballot initiative. Our brief made legal arguments in defense of the FAMLI Act and established the clear and critical need for paid family and medical leave in Colorado. Business owners from across the state, alongside two business organizations that work closely with ABB, filed a separate amici curiae brief demonstrating their support for the FAMLI Act and the many benefits the program offers employers and employees alike. A Better Balance’s amici curiae brief is available here, and our business partners’ brief is available here.
Get Help

Our national worker helpline, 1-833-NEED-ABB is a free and confidential resource where workers can get help and better understand their rights in the workplace. Through our helpline and other Know Your Rights outreach, we help to ensure all Coloradans understand their rights to paid leave and other protections.

More Information

Our Colorado Office continues to work on initiatives in our state that promote the ability of all workers to be able to care for the people they love when they need it most – without having to risk their economic security. For questions or more information on our Colorado office, please contact Natalie Petrucci or Jared Make.

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