The Aurora City Council voted Monday not to participate in the state’s family and medical leave program, mirroring decisions made by Denver and dozens of other local governments.
Deputy Director of Human Resources Jennifer Lorenzen said city staff recommend not participating in the Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) program because the job protections already provided by Aurora for its employees are equal. or greater than what FAMLI guarantees.
“The decision to opt out is not permanent,” Lorenzen said, noting that the city can review the decision every year and is required to do so at least every eight years.
In November 2020, voters approved a new paid family leave program through Proposition 118. The program takes effect January 1, 2024. Every Coloradan earning at least $2,500 in annual salary will be eligible to take family leave. and paid medical – for the most part this can be up to 12 weeks – under certain circumstances. People can use the leave to care for a new child in the family or to care for themselves in the midst of a serious health condition, among other qualifying reasons.
Weekly benefits are capped at $1,100, but depending on a person’s income level, they could receive up to 90% of their normal weekly income.
Unlike companies, local authorities have the option of refusing to participate in FAMLI – partially or totally. To opt out, local governments must vote. They have until January 1, 2023 to notify the State of their decision not to participate.
Local governments have three options: participate in FAMLI, decline all participation, or decline employer participation.
Participating governments will share in the payment of premiums, alongside employees. Bonuses are set at 0.9% of an employee’s salary. The local government would pay half of this cost, while its employee would pay the rest. Governments can pay more if they want to provide a greater benefit to employees.
A withdrawing local government employer must still register with the FAMLI system and notify the state that they will not be participating. This will help the state know which governments are participating and which must vote again to find out if they participate – which they are required to do every eight years if they have opted out.
The third option is for local governments to opt out of employer participation, which also requires a vote.
A local government employee who has opted out of FAMLI can still enroll individually. A local government has the option of partially participating in FAMLI by refusing to pay a portion of the employer’s premium, but deducting the employee’s portion of the premium, remitting it to the state, and reporting the data wages required on a quarterly basis. If a government chooses not to do this, an individual enrolling employee is responsible for these steps.
Lorenzen said Aurora is providing city employees with job-protected leaves, including Family Medical Leave (FMLA) for up to 12 weeks, Employee Medical Leave (EML) for up to a year, military leave and 30 and 60 day leaves for addiction rehabilitation services. .
City benefits include short-term and long-term disability, emergency leave, bereavement leave, and sick and personal leave accumulations, among others.
Council member Alison Coombs clarified that employees do not lose job leave protections with the city if they choose to enroll individually in FAMLI.
The Denver City Council voted last month to opt out of FAMLI.
Colorado Municipal League executive director Kevin Bomber said the organization is aware of at least 57 local governments that have so far withdrawn from FAMLI. The organization is aware of only one local government, Crestone, that will not stand down, Bommer said by email.
“We expect a lot more before the December 31 deadline,” Bommer said.