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Colorado FAMLI program starts payroll deductions in January

Starting in January Colorado workers can anticipate a 0.45% paycheck reduction earmarked for the new state-run FAMLI (Family and Medical Leave Insurance) program. 
babies

Starting in January Colorado workers can anticipate a 0.45% paycheck reduction earmarked for the new state-run FAMLI (Family and Medical Leave Insurance) program. 

In Nov. 2020, Colorado voters approved Proposition 118 to create the FAMLI program, which provides job protection and partial wage replacement for up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave annually. The benefits do not begin until January 2024.

Colorado Department of Labor & Employment FAMLI Division Director Tracy Marshall said employers are responsible for notifying staff about the pending deduction for the social insurance program.

“The first year we spend building that pool of money and then beginning in January of 2024 is when people can apply for the benefits,” she said.

The leave program applies to businesses, public agencies and public or private elementary and secondary schools statewide. Employers are responsible for matching the 0.45% employee contribution. Employers with nine or fewer staff members only have to deduct 0.45% from paychecks. Premiums could be adjusted in future years but are capped by statute at 1.2%.

“This is open to employers of all sizes, including people that are self-employed or gig workers,” she said.

FAMLI benefits will provide wage replacement of 90% for average weekly salaries up to $500. The figure drops to 68% for salaries up to $1,500 per week, dropping to 55% for salaries up to $2,000 weekly, followed by 44% for up to $2,500 weekly and 37% for weekly pay rates of $3,000 or higher. Maximum annual benefits range from $5,400 to $13,200 depending on individual pay scales

“It’s up to $1,100 a week, so it's going to make a difference,” Marshall said.

FAMLI benefits will be available to provide childcare during the first year after birth, as well as adoption or foster placement of a child. An additional four weeks of leave is available for people facing health issues due to complications from pregnancy or childbirth.

“Certain life events pull you away from work,” Marshall explained.

FAMLI benefits are also available for employees caring for their own or a family member's serious health condition. Other qualifying criteria include arraigning for a family member’s military deployment. Individuals facing domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault or sexual abuse can also tap the benefit stream to secure safe housing, treatment or legal counsel.

“You’ll hear of employers that have short-term disability or maternity programs, but it's very unusual for them to cover things like taking time off work if you've been the victim of domestic violence or assault,” Marshall noted.

Job protection is also included in the FAMLI program, with employees on the job at least six months entitled to return to the same or a comparable position.

“There's going to be more updates coming continuously as we're rolling out more parts of the program over the coming days and weeks,” she said. “We don't want people to be surprised by it.”