Employers and employees would split the cost
On Nov. 3, voters will be asked to decide Proposition 118, a ballot measure that would create a state-run paid family and medical leave insurance program for Colorado workers. The program would give employees up to 12 weeks of paid leave annually — a weekly maximum of $1,100 in the first year — to be with a newborn or to care for themselves or a family member who is seriously ill, while also safeguarding their jobs.
The measure would mandate that both employers and employees fund the program through a payroll deduction.
But the state’s business community is sounding alarm bells about Prop 118’s size and cost — pegged at $1.2 billion a year — and warning that it could further damage an economy that is still badly hobbled by the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s a payroll tax during the worst economy in years,” said Loren Furman, senior vice president of state and federal relations with the Colorado Chamber of Commerce. “It’s going to be on the backs of employers and employees.”
Tony Gagliardi, Colorado director for the National Federation of Independent Business, said the measure is a government-ordered hammer blow to the private sector.
“What we oppose is a government mandate that assumes that every business everywhere of every size can afford to offer the same benefits that big companies can,” he said. “It’s going to increase the cost of doing business.”