The new Colorado program, Paid Family and Medical Leave (FAMLI) will be available on January 1, 2024. This program allows employees to receive paid leave when “growing their families” or helping a loved one through a serious illness.
“FAMLI will provide paid family and medical leave for workers in Colorado that are going through particular needs in their life that will pull them away from the ability to work,” says Tracy Marshall the Division Director for this program. “Whether that’s involving their children, family, spouse, parents, military service, or incidents involving intimate partner violence or assault. All of those different things would be reason for them to be able to utilize that relief.”
This program allows employees to take up to 12 weeks off, and women who are having a difficult pregnancy receive an additional four weeks. Not only will mothers have the opportunity for paid time off during and after their pregnancy, but this 12-week period also applies to fathers.
“One of the things that I’m really excited about with this program is that people are eligible to take that bonding leave from birth adoption or foster placement within the first year after that addition to their family,” says David Gallivan the Compliance and Appeals Branch Manager for the Colorado FAMLI Division. “That means that people who are having children now or who are in the adoption process or the foster placement process are actually going to be eligible for that leave in early 2024.”
In other words, families adding a new member in the first week of April will have the opportunity to take 12-weeks off in the coming year.
Employers don’t have a choice to participate, Marshall says, “the employers have to do something, whether that’s offering their own plan or whether that’s utilizing the state’s plan, but doing nothing is not an option for them.”
To prepare for the FAMLI program, employees will notice a deduction from their pay stub right now, and in 2024, the Colorado Department of Employment (CDLE) will begin paying out those benefits. The CDLE will begin accepting applications at the end of this year.
“We do realize that people are trying to plan around additions to their family, and we want to make sure that we’re very efficient in our managing those claims when they come to us,” Marshall adds.
Currently, Marshall works for the CDLE, but previously she was in the healthcare field as a registered nurse. Marshall believes this program is important for several reasons, including giving parents time to spend with their new babies.
“I used to spend a lot of time working in the neonatal ICU and see parents that still have their infants in the NICU, but essentially required to go back to work,” Marshall says. “It’s a heartbreaking decision for people to have to make.”
This new Colorado program will help parents welcome their new children to the family as well as give employees the opportunity to take care of their sick loved ones.