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August 14, 2020

Colorado paid family and medical leave insurance to appear on the November 2020 ballot

The nonprofit organization, Colorado Families First, announced that it has garnered more than 205,000 signatures, enough to place a paid family and medical leave program initiative on the November 3, 2020 ballot. The signatures were filed with the Colorado Secretary of State's office on July 31, 2020.

Initiative 283 would create a paid family and medical leave program administered by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. Employers would be required to contribute to the program at a contribution rate of 0.9% of each employee's wages. Employers of 10 or more employees would be allowed to deduct up to 50% of the contribution from employee wages (employees of smaller employers would pay 100% of the contributions). The contribution rate would increase to a maximum 1.2% as of January 1, 2025. According to the organization, contributions would begin in 2023.

The program would provide up to a maximum of 12 weeks of paid leave (16 weeks for pregnancy or childbirth complications) to qualified employees. Eligibility requirements would be similar to those for unemployment insurance benefits. Employers that offer an approved private family and medical leave plan could opt out of the program.

Ernst & Young LLP insights

The ballot initiative to establish a paid family and medical leave program follows the Colorado state legislature's failure to pass a program into law earlier this year. As we reported, Colorado did, however, recently enact a paid sick leave law. (EY Tax Alert 2020-1854.)

If voters approve the initiative, Colorado would join several other states with similar programs (i.e., California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington). (EY Employment tax rates and limits for 2020.)


Contact Information
For additional information concerning this Alert, please contact:
Workforce Tax Services - Employment Tax Advisory Services
   • Debera Salam (
   • Kristie Lowery (
   • Kenneth Hausser (
   • Peter Berard (


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