Denver opts out of state family leave program
Denver will develop its own paid family leave system, one which city officials say will be better than the state's current offering.
Driving the news: The Denver City Council voted on Monday to decline participating in Colorado's Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program, or FAMLI.
- The program requires that employers provide time off for life events like pregnancies and family emergencies.
Between the lines: Council voted 10-1 to approve a resolution declining the city's participation, with council member Candi CdeBaca voting no.
- CdeBaca suggested the city's system will most benefit its highest earners and make it harder to attract new city employees.
- The city's program will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023, a year ahead of the state's version.
Of note: Under the city's system, employees would get up to eight weeks of paid leave — less than the 12 weeks offered by the state.
- A city employee, however, may still opt in to the state program as an individual.
What they're saying: Kathy Nesbitt, Denver's human resources director, recently told council members that the city's option is "significantly" better than the state's.
- Denver's program provides full salary for eight weeks, while the state would only partially replace an employee's income over the 12-week span.
- The state program would cost city employees a premium based on their wages, and the city would have to pitch in money as well. The city's option will be free to employees, Nesbitt said earlier this month.
- But it will cost the city to replace an employee who isn't working, requiring on-call workers or paying others team members overtime to make up the difference of an on-leave employee.
By the numbers: The city employs more than 11,000 people.
- A survey released last week based on anonymous responses from 7,477 employees showed that 91% find their work meaningful.
- Yet 36% said they feel burned out, and just 41% think they are paid fairly.
The big picture: Nearly 20 cities have decided to opt out of the state program, including Aspen and Eagle, according to Denverite.
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