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Colorado Voters Approve Paid Medical and Family Leave – What Does It Mean for Your Company?

Posted by: Karen Booher on November 18th, 2020

On Election Day 2020, Colorado voters approved the Paid Medical and Family Leave (PMFL) initiative – Proposition 118. PMFL creates a state-run paid family and medical leave insurance program that provides most Colorado employees with up to 12 weeks of partial pay and job security for various family and medical-related absences from work. An additional 4 weeks of paid leave is available if workers have a serious health condition related to pregnancy or childbirth complications.

Colorado legislators failed to pass a paid family and medical leave program during the 2020 legislative session and subsequently placed it on the November 2020 ballot after securing enough signatures in August 2020.

Who Pays for This? When Does It Take Effect? How Much Will It Cost?

The paid leave program will be funded through a new payroll tax split evenly between employers and employees, with a total tax liability of 0.9% of an employee’s wages (.45% each for the employee and employer). For example, a Coloradan making $50,000/year would pay $225 in annual premiums that would be matched by the employer. Employers and employees will begin paying into this new insurance program on Jan. 1, 2023, and benefits will be available to employees under the program beginning on Jan. 1, 2024.

Beginning in 2025, the premium amounts will be adjusted upward to account for the previous year’s claims and costs of administering the program. Notwithstanding any annual increases, the premium will be capped at 1.2% of each employee’s wages, in total (.6% each for the employee and employer).

Eligibility for Employees

Qualifying Reasons for Employees to Take Leave

 Other Important Things to Know

Important: this is only a summary of Colorado’s Paid Medical and Family Leave and is not meant to be comprehensive of all of the Leave’s provisions. All Colorado employers should consult with legal experts to ensure compliance.


  1. Nov. 6, 2020, JacksonLewis, by Jacqueline R. Guesno and Kathleen A. O’Grady, “Colorado Voters Approve Paid Medical and Family Leave Initiative“.
  2. Nov. 9, 2020, ASA Staffing Today, Holland & Hart LLP, Brad Williams, “Colorado Voters Approve Paid Medical and Family Leave Program“.


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