Two bills with potentially wide-reaching effects on Colorado employers did not survive the recently-closed legislative session.FN1
1. Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program
A Senate committee indefinitely postponed (i.e., “killed”) the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program (“FAMLI”), which was the first bill that House Democrats introduced this session.FN2 The FAMLI bill, which has been introduced in four of the past five legislative sessions, would have required every employer in Colorado, regardless of size, to allow its employees to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave to care for a new child, a family member with a serious health condition, themselves, or another designated individual.FN3 Eligible employees would have received partial wage-replacement benefits from a central fund, funded by employee-paid premiums.
Paid family leave is and will remain a hot-button issue, nationwide.FN4 We expect House Democrats will introduce the FAMLI bill again in the next Colorado legislative session, which will convene in January 2019.
2. Local Minimum Wage Bill
A Senate committee also blocked the Democratic-introduced House Bill 1368, which would have let cities and counties set their own minimum wages above statewide levels.FN5 The current Colorado minimum wage is $10.20 per hour, and the state tipped employee minimum wage is $7.18.FN6 These rates will increase to $11.10 per hour and $8.08 per hour, respectively, on January 1, 2019.FN7
FN1: The 71st General Assembly of the Colorado state legislature adjourned on May 9, 2018. (See https://leg.colorado.gov/)
FN2: See Ed Sealover, Colorado Legislative Committee Kills 4th Attempt to Pass Family-Leave Bill, Denver Business Journal (May 1, 2018), https://www.bizjournals.com/denver/news/2018/05/01/colorado-legislative-committee-kills-4th-attempt.html.
FN4: The White House’s February 2018 budget proposal included a proposal to provide six-weeks’ paid leave for new parents family leave, which would be funded through unemployment insurance. Lorie Konish, Trump’s Budget Calls for Six Weeks’ Paid Family Leave. What It Will Cost You, CNBC (Feb. 12, 2018), https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/12/trumps-budget-calls-for-six-weeks-paid-family-leave.html New York, New Jersey, California, Washington state and the District of Columbia already offer similar paid-leave benefits. Kathryn Vasel, Calls for Paid Family Leave Are Getting Louder, CNN (Feb. 13, 2018). http://money.cnn.com/2018/02/13/pf/trump-budget-proposal-paid-family-leave/index.html;
FN5: Mark Harden, Local Minimum-Wage Bill Gets Maximum Resistance From Republicans, ColoradoPolitics.com (May 7, 2018), https://coloradopolitics.com/local-minimum-wage-bill-gets-maximum-resistance-from-republicans/; see also http://leg.colorado.gov/bills/hb18-1368.
FN6: See Colorado Minimum Wage Order Number 34, https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/7%20CCR%201103-1%20Colorado%20Minimum%20Wage%20Order%20Number%2034%20_1.pdf