Colorado is poised this year to consider passing a comprehensive paid family and medical leave measure. Despite several unsuccessful attempts in recent years, changes in the state legislature and in voter sentiment point to building momentum in support of the policy. Passing it would make Colorado the seventh state in the U.S., plus the District of Columbia, to pass a statewide initiative. Drawing from data about similar programs in other states, this report examines what a comprehensive paid family and medical leave initiative might look like in Colorado. Specifically, we estimate that approximately 5% of eligible workers per year are likely to access leave benefits under the new program, with an average weekly benefit of about $671. To fund the program, workers and private-sector employers will each need to contribute about .34% of wages each year. At this premium rate, the program will be able to fully fund a wage replacement scheme that matches or comes close to matching wages of the lowest earners, with a maximum weekly benefit cap of either $1000 or $1200/week. Overall, the program seems feasible and is likely to bring a number of important benefits to workers and employers across the state, in exchange for a modest investment in the form of premium contributions. (Author abstract)
Projected economic impacts of paid family leave in Colorado
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