As major tech companies, including Twitter, Airbnb, DoorDash, and Reddit, advocate for federal paid family leave programs, more states are enacting legislation of their own.
Colorado recently joined New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and California with a paid family and medical leave program. Called Colorado FAMLI (Family and Medical Leave Insurance), the program will provide benefits to employees to take time off to care for themselves or a loved one who meets certain criteria.
In line with programs in other states, Colorado workers can file for FAMLI to:
Eligible employees can claim up to 12 weeks of leave per year, according to the website famli.colorado.gov. Parents who experience pregnancy or childbirth complications may qualify for an additional four weeks of recovery time.
The state of Colorado Department of Labor and Employment provides a benefits and premium calculator for employers and employees here.
Benefits range from 37% to 90% of an employee’s weekly wage, depending on the employee’s income. Benefits max out at $1,100 weekly or $13,200 annually for employees in the top tier, who normally gross $2,000 or more per week.
According to a Fact Sheet issued by the CDLE, every employer must offer the benefit to their workers. Organizations with their own paid leave program in place can apply for an exemption.
Premiums equal 0.9% of an employee’s wage. Employers with 10 or more employees must pay at least half the premium due, or 0.45%, with the other half coming from employee payroll deductions. Employers will also have the option of paying the full amount of the benefit as an added perk and employee retention tool.
Employers with fewer than 10 employees do not have to contribute to the program but are responsible for remitting the employee’s share (0.45%) quarterly with money collected through payroll deductions.
The legislation goes into full effect on January 1, 2024, when employees can make claims and begin collecting benefits. Employers will need to begin submitted premiums to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment by January 1, 2023.
Specific details regarding carriers and self-insured options are not yet available.
Insurance brokers who already provide private DBL, TDB, or FMLA coverage in other states may want to start thinking about covering Colorado businesses and their employees, as well. Colorado business owners will be looking for brokers with knowledge, expertise, and a network of carriers who understand these complex benefits.
The CDLE recommends that Colorado business owners begin communicating with employees in Fall 2022 to prepare them for the payroll deductions and upcoming benefits. Internal communications such as employee handbooks should be updated with relevant information as it becomes available. By Fall 2023, the CDLE says Colorado business owners should have “clear guidance and communications to employees around FAMLI benefits.”
Insurance brokers who have helped employers implement successful PFL and FMLA programs in other states by providing them with affordable benefits and packages that bundle ancillary benefits with paid family leave have unique opportunities in Colorado. To set the stage for success, you can:
Finally, stay tuned to The DBL Center news section to read about breaking developments in Colorado FAMLI.
by Dawn Allcot